Angus — The Business Breed

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Prevent Grass Tetany

Nutrition specialist gives tips to avoid grass tetany at spring turnout.

As spring begins, it won’t be long before cattle producers are thinking about turning pairs out to pasture. Although that lush green grass seems appealing, there are hidden concerns that producers need to remember when turning out their cows.

One of those concerns is grass tetany. Kevin Glaubius, director of nutrition at BioZyme Inc., answered a few questions about grass tetany to help producers prepare for spring and early summer grazing. Read more.

Your Gut Instinct to Minimize Disease

Microbiome health affects overall health.

When producers spot a sick animal, they often begin to closely monitor water and feed intake. That instinct is right on target based on what we know about animals’ immune systems. While seemingly simple, these tasks help support a diverse community of microorganisms found in all animals, including humans, called the microbiome.

“The microbiome is a collection of different microorganisms that we find in the intestinal tract of animals, and we know these microorganisms are essential to immune development,” says Christopher Chase, veterinarian and professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at South Dakota State University. “Understanding how they interact with the gut, and particularly the epithelium of the gut, is really important. Read more.

Emergency IV for Dehydrated Calves

When a sick calf is past the point of being able to absorb oral fluids, the only way to save that calf is with intravenous fluids.

Sometimes, when a sick calf is weak and dehydrated from scours and past the point of being able to absorb oral fluids, or is in shock from septicemia, intravenous fluids are the only way to save it.

Having the proper size needle to go into the jugular vein, an intravenous (IV) catheter and tubing, and bags of sterile IV electrolyte solution on hand can save a calf that might not survive a long trip to the veterinary clinic. Even if you don’t have an IV solution, a gallon jug of distilled water and some baking soda can turn many of these calves around, says George Barrington, veterinarian and professor of large animal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. Read more.

Mineral Nutrition

Deficiencies more prevalent than expected.

“Over half of the cattle I test are copper-deficient,” shared Jeff Hall, professor of veterinary sciences and toxicology at Utah State University, as he addressed those attending a Cattlemen’s College® session sponsored by Zoetis in Phoenix, Ariz., this winter.

Hall noted copper is the No. 1 mineral deficiency in cattle nationwide, but also shared that selenium, zinc, vitamins A and E, and manganese are frequently deficient. He explained deficiencies can decrease growth rates, drag down immune systems and contribute to other health risks. Thus, Hall stressed the importance of testing cows and calves to assess — and correct — mineral deficiencies, and ultimately add performance and profit to cattle.

In posing the question “Why do we see more mineral deficiencies today than 30 years ago?” Hall offered several reasons. Read more.

Disease Factors that Affect Cow Fertility

Sexually transmitted reproductive diseases can reduce cow fertility.

Eduardo Cobo, assistant professor for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary, says two of the main reproductive diseases that reduce pregnancy rates in cows are trichomoniasis (trich) and campylobacteriosis (formerly called vibriosis).

“These diseases are often underdiagnosed. Producers may also think vaccination will prevent problems, but vaccination is not always efficient for protecting cows against trichomoniasis, and hasn’t been fully tested for campylobacteriosis. If a herd has fertility problems and uses natural service breeding, producers should not ignore the possibility that they have one or both of these diseases,” he says. Read more.

Importance of Passive Immunity for Calves

Colostrum is even more important than just providing crucial first nutrients.

Calves are not born with much immunity. They must absorb antibodies from colostrum to gain temporary immunity from prevalent diseases until their own immune system matures.

Andy Acton, Deep South Animal Clinic, Ogema, Sask., Canada, says there are additional factors gained from colostrum, and not just the antibodies absorbed when calves suckle the first time. “There’s also some absorption of white blood cells of different kinds from their mother’s colostrum. These are not present in a colostrum replacer you’d buy.”

Calves get more protection from the dam’s colostrum than from a commercial product. Some of the immune modulators that are not actual antibodies are important to the calf, he says. Read more.

Cattle Diseases: Common Conditions/Terms

Click here for a list of common conditions and terms related to beef cattle diseases, such as anaplasmosis, brucellosis, BVD, E. coli, IBR and others.

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