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Angus Journal

Copyright © 2016
Angus Media.
All Rights Reserved

Why Treat the Cow?

Learning Lounge session reviews worm life cycles, as well as timing and benefits of deworming the cow herd.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 27, 2016)) — Veterinarian Tony Moravec advises cow-calf producers to take good care of their factories — and by factory, he means the cow. After all, she produces the calf. But a cow can also be a prodigious factory for parasite eggs that infest pastures.

Moravec, a technical services veterinarian for Merial, delivered a Learning Lounge educational session during the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show hosted Jan. 27-29 in San Diego, Calif. Moravec advised producers to take good care of their cows by implementing an effective parasite control program that includes timely deworming.

Tony MoravecSpring deworming is particularly important, said veterinarian Tony Moravec, to relieve animals of their worm burdens, aid post-calving recovery and enhance rebreeding of spring-calving cows.

Moravec reminded producers that a menagerie of worm species can plague their cattle. He reviewed the life cycle of worms, explaining how grazing animals ingest larvae on blades of grass. Larvae mature in about 21 days and lay more eggs, which are passed in cattle manure to contaminate pastures.

“So a cow can be re-infected with worms every day she is grazing on pasture,” stated Moravec.
Relieving cattle from the burden of parasitic worms helps the animals’ immune systems function better, Moravec said. Cattle are then more apt to receive optimum benefit from nutrition and other health management practices.

Moravec said the goals of deworming are improvement of feed conversion, weight gain, milk production and fertility. The latter is particularly important to cow-calf operations, and relieving cows of their worm burdens can enhance reproductive performance by helping cows to rebreed more quickly after calving.

Moravec called spring deworming particularly important to relieve animals of their worm burdens, aid post-calving recovery and enhance rebreeding of spring-calving cows. Spring deworming also helps reduce contamination of pastures. That’s important because calves are susceptible to infection as soon as they start grazing and ingest worm larvae.

“I think it’s important to remember that one spring-deworming of the cow potentially affects three generations — the cow, her current calf and her next one,” said Moravec, advising producers to consult their veterinarians regarding an effective dewormer and the appropriate times for administration to their herds.

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