Changes in climate and fluctuations in environmental conditions often cause a number of health issues for cattle. Worm infestation is one such invisible disease that is prevalent in cattle in all around the world. It is extremely difficult to detect a worm infestation unless it has reached an advanced stage—by which time it could have already caused serious damage. If you are a dairy farmer, don’t wait for worms to completely destroy the health of your cattle. It is important to take precautionary measures to keep such infestations at bay. Deworming cattle helps to keep your livestock healthy and consequently, enables your dairy farm to flourish.
Effects of Worms on Dairy Cattle
Tapeworms, flukes, roundworms, and other parasites have a hazardous effect on cattle’s overall health. As a responsible dairy farmer, you should keep an eye on the following symptoms of worm infestation, and if you happen to detect any of them in your cattle, call your veterinarian immediately.
Cattle with worm infections tend to be physically weak. They become thin and their coats become unhealthy and dull. Even if the animal is well-fed, it will appear thin, because the intestinal worm will be consuming most of the nutrition.
If cattle don’t get proper nutrition, it affects their ability to produce milk or procreate. If cows that once produced good amounts of milk have suddenly stopped producing the same quantity, it might be due to worm infection.
Intestinal parasites like ticks and worms suck cattle’s blood and cause anaemia. If your cow shows symptoms like lack of appetite, lethargy, pale gums, and difficulty in breathing, it may be due to an infection.
This is the most common problem cattle with worms face. Due to diarrhoea, in some cases cows feel dehydrated as well as consumption and digestion of feed becomes challenging for them.
Deworming in cattle Schedule
Keeping your cattle healthy is the only way to sustain your dairy farm. Make sure you deworm your cows regularly and at the right time of the year. You may refer to the schedule below when planning treatment for your cattle.
Type Deworming Plan
Liver Flukes: Twice a year in an endemic year.Round Worms: First dose at 10 days after birth. Then, thrice a year with a monthly interval of up to 6 months. Tape Worms: Twice a year, in January and June. Dairy & beef cattle can be dewormed according to their age, sex, and environment. All mature cows who are fed on dry lot, or kept in semi-confinement or in a pasture during the dry season, will benefit the most when they are dewormed at freshening. Mature cows that live in confinement should be dewormed once every time the lactate, either 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.
Mature cows have built up an immunity, so the risk of infection isn’t as high as it is in younger animals. Cows that are pregnant with their second calf or older should be dewormed yearly around the time of freshening. During a particularly wet year or in a crowded pasture, regular deworming is recommended—however, during a dry year or in a relatively vacant pasture, deworming is not necessary. Older animals can be dewormed with any product. Bulls tend to be more susceptible to parasites and should be dewormed twice a year.
Deworming should start pre-weaning at about 3-4 months old.
Dewormed calves will gain far more weaning weight (20-40 lbs) than 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 external parasites as well.
FAQs on Deworming in Cattle
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.
3. What 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 to the drug can occur. Proper chute facilities will decrease the stress of handling and increase dosing compliance.
4. How do you evaluate your herd to design an optimal deworming program?
Feed efficiencyFecal egg countsWeaning weightsOverall herd health
5. How do season and latitude affect deworming considerations?
Deworm more frequently during wet periods – approximately 1 month after 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.