Importance of Deworming in Dairy Cattle

Due to fluctuating environment and climate, cattle go through various health issues. However, worm infestation is a hidden disease that is prevalent in cattle in all around the world. Until and unless the growth of the worm doesn’t come to the advanced stage and shows outward signs, it is quite difficult to detect the presence of worms. It is suggested that if you are a dairy farmer, don’t wait for worms to have complete control over your cattle’s health. You better take precautionary measures by doing regular deworming of your cattle and keep the worms at bay. Deworming helps to keep your livestock healthy and ultimately supports your dairy farming business to flourish.

Effects of Worms on Dairy Cattle

Tapeworms, flukes, roundworms, and other internal parasites leave hazardous effects of cattle’s overall health. Being a responsible dairy farmer or animal parent, you should keep an eye on below signs or effects of worms on your dairy cattle and reach out to the veterinarian immediately.

Poor Health

Cattle with worm infection tend to be in weak physical condition. They become thin and poor in appearance. Their coat becomes unhealthy and dull. Even after providing a good amount of feed the infected cattle look poor because the feed gets consumed by worms and doesn’t benefit the cow.

Low Productivity

The intestinal worms feed off your cattle’s bodies and throw the nutrients out of the animal’s body. As cattle don’t get proper nutrition, it effects on their capability of producing milk and calves. In the past, if your cows have produced plenty of milk and healthy calves, you must check for worm infection problems.


The intestinal parasites, including ticks and worms suck cattle’s blood and cause them Anaemia. If your cow shows signs like lack of appetite, lethargy, pale gums, and difficulty in breathing.


This is most common problem cattle with worms face. Due to diarrhoea, in some cases cows feel dehydrated as well as consumption and digestion of feed become challenging for them.

Deworming Schedule

As a dairy farmer, keeping cattle in good health must be important for you because only healthy cattle produce a good amount of milk and help you to develop your dairy business. Make sure you deworm your cows regularly and at the right time of the year. Below, we are sharing the deworming schedule with you. Follow this schedule and protect cows from worms.

Type Deworming Plan

  1. Liver Flukes Twice a year in an endemic year.
  2. Round Worms After birth, first dose at 10 days. Thrice a year with monthly interval up to 6 months.
  3. Tape Worms Twice a year. (Jan and June)

Dairy & Beef cattle Can be dewormed according to:
• Age
• Sex
• Environment

Dairy Cattle: If pastured seasonally.

All mature cows on dry lot, in semi-confinement or in pasture during dry period benefit the most when dewormed at freshening.

Mature cows that live in confinement should be dewormed once a lactation as a group or individually at freshening.


Dairy youngstock raised on pasture should be dewormed one month after turning out to pasture and in late fall.

Egg counts can be taken for different groups of youngstock to strategically plan the optimal time to deworm.

Beef Cattle

Mature cows 

  • Have some built-up immunity, worm burden isn’t as high as younger animals. 
  • Pregnant with their second calf and older.Deworm yearly around the time of freshening.
  • Wet year or crowded pasture – another deworming is recommended.
  • Extremely dry year or pasture vacant a year deworming not necessary that year.
  • Older animals can be dewormed with any product.BullsMore susceptible to parasites.Deworm twice yearly.
  • Older animals can be dewormed with any product.

Young cattle

  • Deworming should start pre-weaning at about 3-4 months old.
  • Will add significant weaning weight (20-40 lbs) compared with non-dewormed calves.
  • If kept as stocker calves, deworm again at weaning.
  • Avermectin/milbemycin-type products are going to provide the best treatment for these young calves and have the added benefit of controlling some of the external parasites.


1. What is strategic deworming?

A method of deworming that fluctuates based on: 

  • Management – Type of cattle and how they are worked.
  • Environment – Pasture density, rotation schedule, housing type.
  • Weather – Deworming approximately 1 month after heavy rain.

2. What are the costs of failing to deworm?

  • Immune suppression 
  • Decreased milk
  • Decreased weaning weight
  • Decreased feed efficiency

3What herd management techniques should be used in a deworming program?

  • Let pastures sit for a year without grazing to break the worm’s life cycle.
  • Make sure the proper dose is administered. If the dose isn’t adequate, resistance can more easily occur.
  • Proper chute facilities will decrease stress at handling and increase dosing compliance.

4. How do you evaluate your herd to design an optimal deworming program?

  • Feed efficiency
  • Fecal egg counts
  • Weaning weights
  • Overall herd health

5. How does season and latitude affect deworming considerations?

  • Deworm more frequently during wet periods – approximately 1 month after a heavy rain.
  • Deworm more frequently if you live in a wet or humid climate.
  • Deworm in late fall in northern climates to kill larva before winter to clear infestations.

Dr. Rajesh Kumar Singh

Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India
Mob No: 9431309542
Email ID: [email protected]

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