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Diseases of the Beef Cow Herd. By David R. Hawkins Michigan State University. Diseases That Impact Reproduction. Brucellosis Leptospirosis Campylobacteriosis Trichomoniasis Respiratory Viruses IBR & BVD. Brucellosis. Bacteria – Brucella abortus

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diseases of the beef cow herd

Diseases of the Beef Cow Herd


David R. Hawkins

Michigan State University

diseases that impact reproduction
Diseases That Impact Reproduction
  • Brucellosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Respiratory Viruses
    • IBR & BVD
  • Bacteria – Brucella abortus
  • Localized infection in uterus, udder, testes & joints – abortion in last trimester of pregnancy
  • Diagnose with blood or fetal tissue sample
  • Transmissible to humans – undulant fever
  • Federally monitored
  • Prevent with calfhood vaccination – 4 to 8 mo. (recommended but not required). Must be done by DVM – records at MDA
  • Bacteria – 5 strains
  • Fever, off feed, abortion at any time, anemia, clotted milk & bloody urine
  • Diagnose with blood or fetal tissue sample
  • Annual vaccination is recommended in Michigan
  • Deer and wildlife can carry the bacteria
  • Bacteria – Vibrio fetus
  • Irregular heat cycle (fetus dies after fertilization and is reabsorbed) (4 to 7 mo.)
  • True venereal disease that is spread via natural service.
  • Diagnose with vaginal or preputial mucous
  • Vaccinate prior to breeding season
  • Protozoa – Trichomonas fetus
  • True venereal disease
  • Diagnose with vaginal or preputial mucous
  • Use A.I., virgin bulls and vaccinate prior to breeding season.
respiratory disease complex
Respiratory Disease Complex
  • Same as earlier discussion with feedlot cattle.
  • IBR, BVD, PI3
  • BRSV
  • Pneumonia
  • IBR and BVD can cause abortion
calf scours
Calf Scours
  • Chronic &/or acute diarrhea of calves – usually occurs in the first two weeks after birth.
  • Causative agents
    • E. coli
    • Rota/corona viruses
  • Sanitation & Colostrum are very important.
  • Vaccinate cows prior to calving &/or calves at birth.
calf scours continued
Calf Scours (continued)
  • Treatment
    • Prevent dehydration with electrolytes
      • 8% fluid loss = depression, 12% = death
      • 1 quart orally every 4 to 6 hours
    • Antibiotics and sulfa boluses.
    • Keep calf warm and stress free
    • Isolate infected calves to prevent infection of other calves.
  • Mycobacterium bovis
  • Somewhat transmissible to humans
  • Federally monitored
  • Michigan was declared free of TB in 1979.
  • TB found in deer in 1994 and in other wildlife since then.
  • Pneumonia and abscessed lymph nodes.
  • Diagnose with caudal fold test.
tuberculosis continued
Tuberculosis (continued)
  • Several positive cases have been diagnosed in northeastern part of lower peninsula.
  • Michigan lost it’s “TB free” status, but now is hoping to achieve “split state” status.
  • All bovine in state are being tested. Whole herd annual test is recommended.
  • May take 20 years or longer to eradicate.
  • Mycobacterium paratuberculosis
  • Chronic diarrhea and weight loss
  • Incubation period can be several years before symptoms appear.
  • Diagnose with blood & fecal tests
  • Cull infected animals and prevent fecal contamination.
  • Some herds are doing annual tests.
  • Blood disease spread by ticks, flies and mosquitos in southern U.S.
  • High fever, anemia and death
  • Vaccinate &/or treat with antibiotics
  • Some states (WI) and Canada require a negative test before entry
  • Viral disease in western U.S. spread by ticks & flies
  • Ulcers in mouth, fever & lameness
  • Vaccinate or treat with antibiotics and sulfa.
  • Inflammation of mucous membranes near the eye followed by opaque cornea. Acute cases result in permanent loss of sight.
  • Face flies are the primary carrier.
  • Vaccinate or treat with cortisone and antibiotics. Eye patch will protect eye during recovery period
  • Breeds lacking pigmentation around eyes are more susceptible.
fly control
Fly Control
  • Spraying, dusting, dipping, ear tags & oral larvacides
  • Sanitation – remove breeding sites of flies
  • Ear tags impregnated with insecticides have been very effective
  • Change brands each year to avoid resistant strains.
lice grubs
Lice & Grubs
  • Usually apply a “pour-on” organophosphate compound in the fall.
  • Some products are effective for both internal and external parasites.
    • Ivermectin, Dectomax, Eprinex, etc.
  • Others are effective only against lice – Lysoff
  • Observe cut off dates for your area
internal parasites
Internal Parasites
  • Roundworms, tapeworms and flukes
  • Anemia, reduced performance and rough haircoats are symptoms
  • Several anthelmintics (de-worming agents) are available as bolus, paste, injectable, etc.
  • Usually de-worm the breeding herd twice per year to break the life cycle of the parasites
nutritional diseases
Nutritional Diseases
  • Michigan is deficient in iodine, cobalt, selenium and marginal in copper. Most of these can be supplemented in trace mineral salt.
  • Grass tetany is due to a magnesium deficiency in lush growing forage. Include MgO in mineral mix, if it is a problem.
  • Legume bloat – Poloxalene may help.
  • Toxins – some pasture plants can be toxic.