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Strategic Deworming: Time It Right

Strategic deworming success is the result of precise timing. Once perfected, cow/calf producers can expect to see many benefits to their operations — not only in their wallets but in the health and productivity of their cattle as well.
One key to successfully managing herd health is the ability to plan ahead and control parasites year-round. Timing, in relation to seasonal challenges, geographic areas, pasture types and overall management goals for the operation all play a large role in the success of specific protocols. Changing a product class or adjusting the time of application also can have a direct effect on parasite control in the herd.  
Incorporating spring administration into a strategic deworming protocol can pay off for producers who normally only deworm in the fall months. In the spring, producers should develop a plan for the entire year — according to grazing activity and prevalence of specific parasites in the area — that can help keep cattle in the best health possible and reduce pasture contamination.
Time it right and break the cycle of pasture contamination. Deworm cows during the spring calving period and before summer pasture turnout. This parasite control before summer turnout can prevent inhibition-prone larvae from infecting grazing calves. Fall calves and yearlings also should be dewormed at this time.1
Aligning deworming application with pasture management and parasite activity can help producers improve their bottom line. Fewer worms in the herd mean improved appetite and weight gain, resulting in healthy immune systems and optimal responses to vaccines.2 This leads to more profitable cattle and higher-quality carcasses.3
The success of a strategic deworming program will vary depending on location and environment, but by implementing a program, cow/calf producers can expect to see many benefits, including:
·         $201 per head return on deworming4
·         Lower cost of production over the lifetime of the animal4
·         Improved feed efficiency and gain1
·         Healthy calves that are ready to earn producers more on sale day5
Ultimately, the best way to protect the overall health of a cow/calf herd is to work with a veterinarian to develop a year-round strategic parasite control and deworming program that matches specific production and management goals. All cows, calves and yearlings can benefit from the application of strategic parasite control — leading to economic gain and a sound cow/calf herd.
Dr. Seeger grew up on a family farm in central North Dakota. He completed his pre-veterinary training at North Dakota State University and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University (1969).  Dr. Seeger conducted a solo, clinical/ambulatory, general veterinary practice in his home town of Turtle Lake, N.D., for 23 years.
Dr. Seeger then served two years as assistant state veterinarian for North Dakota before accepting a position of senior technical services veterinarian with Smith-Kline Beecham (SKB) Animal Health, Lincoln, Neb., later purchased by Pfizer Animal Health. He has spent 17 years with Pfizer Animal Health, serving as a member of the Cattle Technical Services team, manager of the Drug Safety Livestock phone consultant team, manager of the Cow/Calf Technical Services team and currently holds the position of managing technical services veterinarian in the Beef Veterinary Operations group.

For more information, contact:
Charlotte Ami Yi-Kochoa                        Lindsey Langemeier
Pfizer Animal Health                                Bader Rutter
973-660-5886                                        402-434-5308
[email protected]       [email protected]
1 Corwin RM, Randle RF. Common internal parasites of cattle. University of Missouri Extension. October 1993. Available at: Accessed February 26, 2011.

2 Gasbarre LC, Rew, RS. Immune response in nematode infected cattle following Dectomax treatment. June 2002.

3 Data on file, Study Report Nos. 1231R-60-07-606 and 1231R-60-06-534, Pfizer Inc.

4 Ibarburu, MA, Lawrence JD. Economic Analysis of Pharmaceutical Technologies in Modern Beef Production. Presentation in the 2007 NCCC-134 meeting on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management; April 16-17, 2007; Chicago.

5 King ME. The effects of health and management programs on the sale price of beef calves marketed through eight Superior Livestock video auctions in 2010. Final Report, Pfizer Inc. 2010.