Don’t Forget about Your Cow’s Feet During Summer’s Heat

Written by Dr. Larry Judge, Professional Services Veterinarian at ANIMART

Hoof BathA good hoof maintenance schedule is one of the most important contributors to a successful dairy operation. Foot health has a direct impact on milk production, and ignoring lameness in a herd can be far more costly than the price of a hoof health program.

Risk factors that can lead to lameness

  • Rough floor surface texture and long travel distance to the parlor add extra wear to hoof horn tissue, resulting in thin soles and abscess formation.
  • Unsanitary conditions and overcrowding can lead to foot rot, hoof lesions, digital dermatitis or all of the above – especially common with animals found standing in manure for extended periods of time.
  • Improper footbath protocol.

Footbath protocols

  • Formaldehyde, copper sulfate with or without acidifiers and zinc are the most commonly used products in footbaths.
  • Frequency of footbath use differs from farm to farm, but four days per week is widely accepted. Though for high lameness incidence rates, continuous use may be necessary until the outbreak is under control.
  • The pH level of the footbath impacts the effectiveness of the product used. When it’s too high the chemicals in the footbath become inactive. It is generally recommended that the pH is between 1.5 – 4. This is often exceeded after roughly 200 cows pass through. The use of pH test strips throughout the process can give an accurate assessment of how many cows can be treated.

Combatting high copper prices

  • Copper is the world’s third most widely used metal. While the market of this commodity is somewhat dependent on the health of the housing industry, copper pricing instability can lead to issues for producers who use the mineral as part of their farm’s hoof health protocol.

Using a copper sulfate extender together with copper sulfate allows for animals to be treated more effectively, for less money and may lower the inability for crop growth due to heavy metals on the fields.

  • Copper extenders don’t impact the way the copper sulfate is used, only how much is used. The frequency and method of the footbath protocol need not be altered to accommodate a copper extender.
  • Copper sulfate and a copper extender are the best combination to treat hooves while maintaining consistency in pricing, but no matter what protocol your farm uses, being proactive with hoof health is a guaranteed return on investment.

Do you have questions or comments about how to develop a hoof health maintenance schedule? Feel free to leave a comment.

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The Importance of Clean Colostrum

Written by Dr. Vicky Lauer, Professional Services Veterinarian at ANIMART

Feed calves clean colostrumHumans are at a considerable advantage when they enter the world. Babies receive antibodies through the placenta before birth, which neutralize harmful bacteria and viruses and provide immediate protection. Unfortunately, antibodies can’t pass through the cow’s placenta so colostrum is the only source of antibodies available for calves. Clean, timely colostrum administration is vital to calf health and wellness.

Colostrum must be harvested cleanly and as soon as possible after birth to ensure a high level of antibodies. If colostrum is contaminated with manure, the calf absorbs pathogens directly into the bloodstream along with the antibodies. Antibodies bind to the pathogens, leaving fewer antibodies for later protection. Therefore dirty colostrum not only decreases the colostrum quality, it also predisposes the calf to blood poisoning, illness and death.

To monitor colostrum cleanliness, routinely test the bacterial count of colostrum samples right before feeding. The recommended total bacterial count of raw colostrum is less than 50,000 colony-forming units per milliliter (CFU/mL) for maximum effectiveness and absorption. If colostrum is heat-treated, the total bacteria count shouldn’t exceed 20,000 CFU/mL. If bacterial counts are consistently higher, scrutinize the entire colostrum harvesting and feeding process. Test multiple colostrum samples taken throughout the milking and calf feeding routine to see where the breakdown in cleanliness is occurring. Important steps to evaluate are the milking routine and unit, colostrum collection pails and calf feeding equipment. An ATP meter can rapidly identify dirty equipment as well.

Devoting extra time to colostrum cleanliness will equip the calf for a lifetime of success.

Do you have questions or comments about colostrum feeding and calf health? Submit your questions and comments. We’d love to hear from you.

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Get a Head Start on Pest Control

Written by Dr. Armon Hetzel, Professional Services Veterinarian at ANIMART

Pests can be costly to dairy farmers due to disease transmission and irritation. Whether pests feed upon the animals or are simply a nuisance, pests can reduce milk production and decrease weight gains.

Prevent birds from congregating in free stalls, calf barns and bunkers. They’re flying sources of bacteria and parasites. Bird control methods range from simple solutions such as visual scares (life-like owls or reflective surfaces that blow in the wind) to high-tech laser and electronic products.

Use rodenticides to prevent rat and mice populations from contaminating feed sources. Also keep in mind that while dogs and cats are a welcome addition on many farms, discourage domestic animals from entering feed storage areas.

Control insects using a combination of products that attack at different stages of their life cycle. Larvicides target the larvae stage of a fly and are available in the form of biologicals, baits and feed additives. Adulticides are used to combat adult flies and are found in baits, sprays, pour-ons and traps.

Consider biological options such as fly predators or parasites. These small warriors attack immature flies before they reproduce.

Apply chemical insecticides. There are a wide variety of options including pour-ons, dust bags and oilers, insecticide ear tags, sprays, traps and baits. Rotate products yearly to avoid resistance.

Add feed-through fly control supplements or mineral blocks to your livestock’s feeding regimen to prevent flies from developing and emerging from manure. A general rule is to feed 30 days before the last frost in the spring until 30 days after the last frost in the fall.

Use strategically-placed fans. Many insects are less noticeable on windy days because they have difficulty flying in these conditions. You can create this same condition.

Reduce the number of potential insect breeding areas. Many insects need moisture to reproduce, therefore keep calf housing and stalls as clean and dry as possible. Layer only as much bedding is needed and ensure there is proper drainage in wet areas.

Keep doors and windows closed or install screens in areas where sanitary conditions are most important, such as the milk room.

Rotate pastures to reduce fecal material, which in turn decreases the amount of attractive breeding areas for flies.

Be on the look-out for problem areas such as insect and rodent nests, pooling water, rotting silage or damaged feed bags. Address these areas quickly rather than waiting for the problem to multiply.

As you make pest control preparations, also consider your Pinkeye strategy. Pinkeye is spread by face flies and house flies feeding on secretions and then traveling from animal to animal. Reduce the severity and number of cases in your herd by vaccinating 30 days before the start of fly season with conventional or autogenous vaccines.

Do you have questions or comments about pest control on the farm? Submit your questions and comments. We’d love to hear from you.

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Tail Docking in Dairy Cattle: The End is Near

What’s the Issue?

  • Tail docking practices ending globally
  • The National Milk Producers Federation has set January 1, 2017, as the date for producers to end participation of tail docking
  • Please be aware some co-ops may end tail docking even sooner

 What’s the Impact?

  • Changes to on-farm tail docking protocols
  • Producers will have to use an alternative to tail docking

 ANIMART’s Solution:

The Tailwell2 is safe alternative to tail docking. It is a cordless drill attachment that has circular blades to trim the cow’s tail quickly and easily. The Tailwell2 trims tails in less than 15 seconds and tails stay trimmed for one year. There is no need to precut tails as the Tailwell2 removes all the hair on the end and side of the tail. With trimmed tails, the amount of dirt and manure around the rear quarters and udder of the cow are greatly reduced.

For more information, please call 855.254.6600 or visit animart.com/store/tailwell_2

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ANIMART Holiday Schedule

It’s Holiday season again and with that comes snow, delay’s and closings!

So our employees can spend time with their families, all ANIMART offices will be closed the following days:

  • Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 26th – Closed All Day
  • Christmas Eve – Thursday, December 24th – Closed at Noon
  • Christams Day – Friday, December 25th – Closed All Day
  • New Year’s Day – Friday, January 1st – Closed All Day

*Hours will remain 7am-5pm (Monday through Friday)

Friendly Reminders:

  1. Shipping companies will also be closed and limited around the holidays.
  2. Christmas and New Year’s fall on Friday this year. With limited shipping options on the eve of these holidays there will be significant time periods of orders not being shipped or delivered.
  3. Heavy package volumes before and after Christmas can cause shipping delays.
  4. Weather will impact transit times. A two day delivery can easily become a four day delivery if there is snow or ice.
  5. Our website remains open 24/7 if you would like to place an order while our offices are closed.
  6. Most importantly–Happy Holidays from ANIMART. Please let us know if there is something we can do to keep your operation running smoothly.

Any questions?
Just call 800.255.1181.

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June Dairy Month: Thank You Farmers!

Did you know June Dairy Month was established in 1937 as a way to celebrate the dairy industry and promote drinking milk? Today, companies all over the United States celebrate June Dairy Month and ANIMART is one of them.

The dairy industry plays a vital role in Wisconsin’s economy and affects all of us in one way or another.  ANIMART supports the dairy industry by providing sponsorships to organizations such as the Dairy Business Association (DBA), Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW), Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA), FFA Foundation and many more. For a full list of industry organizations ANIMART sponsors visit animart.com/industry-support.

By supporting the dairy industry, we’re supporting the dairy farmer. Farmers care for their animals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Being a dairy farmer is much more complex than just milking cows. Farmers take care of the farm’s operations, but the main priority is the cow’s health and well-being. Cows are milked at specific times each day and are milked two or three times per day depending on the farm. They receive check ups from veterinarians and even get their hooves trimmed.

Dairy farmers have to be problem solvers and great time managers, especially when it’s harvest season. In addition to the normal job of caring for their animals, they also need, to harvesting the crops to feed their herd. Dairy farming really is a family affair since most farms are family own and operated. No matter the season, dairy farmers work long hours, in all weather conditions and are committed to the well-being of their animals and farm.

ANIMART is committed to bringing producers solutions to help their dairy business succeed. We work beyond products by saving producers time, and money as well as offering knowledge and solutions through our full-line of animal health supplies.

At ANIMART we don’t want farmers to feel like customers, we want to be part of their team and help them with their livelihood.

ANIMART Staff
855.254.6600
info@animart.com

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Preventing Flies with Larvicides

What’s the Issue?

  • Flies that reach adulthood only make-up a small percentage of the entire fly population
  • Waiting to control flies until after they become an issue increases costs and lowers effectiveness of treatment
  • Most fly control solutions only target adult flies

What’s the Impact?

  • Flies cause a reduction in milk production of 10-20%
  • Biting flies cause a reduction in weight gains and feed efficiency
  • Flies carry diseases including pinkeye

ANIMART’s Solution:

Calf areas and manure pits are the biggest breeding areas for flies on a dairy. Limit the number of flies that reach adulthood and effectively control flies on your dairy using a combination of environmental, biological and chemical techniques.

  • Environmental: Be sure to sanitize and clean around the dairy as any accumulation of feed, manure and water will be a fly attractant
  • Biological: Enhance the naturally occurring populations of fly predators1 which attack fly larvae
  • Chemical: Use feed-through larvicides like elim-A-fly2 or scatter baits like Neporex3 to prevent fly larvae from developing into adult flies.
  1. Elim-A-fly is added to calves’ milk every day and contains diflubenzuron which interferes with the growth of the exoskeleton of flies, causing the larvae to die before reaching adulthood.
  2. Fly Predators are a biological control agent that targets fly pupae. Simply release them near fly breeding areas and they do the rest of the work.
  3. Neporex is a granule bait which uses cryomazine to prevent prevent fly larvae from developing into flies.

For more information call 855.254.6600 or visit animart.com

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Importance of Vaccinations and Vaccination Protocols

Herd health management is vital to profitability and production to each operation. Many animal health problems can be controlled with good management, proper nutrition and vaccinations against diseases. Vaccination protocols are a necessity for each operation. The investment in prevention is less than the cost of treatments.

Every farm is different with regards to the risk of disease as well as labor and facilities needed to work the operation. Your veterinarian has the knowledge to tailor a vaccine protocol and timeline to your unique situation. Use this protocol schedule as a guide for your discussion with your veterinarian to manage herd health for various stages of a cow’s life.

Calves at Birth

  • Dip navel
  • Identify with tag
  • Test for BVD
  • Give oral scour vaccine products
  • Feed a minimum of 1 gallon of quality colostrum or colostrum replacer

Calves 2 Weeks Prior to Weaning

  • Killed Bacterial Pneumonia vaccine injectable or intranasal
  • Modified live viral pneumonia vaccine injectable or intranasal
  • 7 Way Clostridial
  • Castrate bull calves if not already done
  • Make sure all calves are dehorned if not already done
  • Treat for external and internal parasites

Calves around 3 Months of Age

  • Viral Respiratory Vaccine Injectable
  • 7 Way Clostridial
  • Pinkeye vaccine (if using)

Calves around 4 Months of Age

  • Viral Respiratory Vaccine Injectable

Heifers 4-6 Weeks Prior to Breeding

  • Vaccinate for Viral Respiratory and 5-way Lepto- modified live or killed vaccine
  • Fetal Protection (FP) product is preferred
  • 7-Way Clostridial
  • Treat for internal and external parasites

If calves cannot be processed pre-weaning, follow ‘Calves at Weaning’ with a 2-3 week booster. If dehorning and castration were not done earlier, complete as soon as possible. At this point, a tetanus vaccination is encouraged. Modified-live vaccines (MLV) provide fast immunity. ONLY use MLV in pregnant cows and in nursing calves if the cows were vaccinated with MLV in the last 12 months. Killed vaccines must be given twice, usually 2-3 weeks apart. Annual boosters are required after initial two-shot sequence.

Vaccination protocols are designed farm-specific. When deciding on what products are best to use and when to administer, always consult with your veterinarian. Every vaccine is different. Read and follow the label instructions.

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Fluids for IV Use

In the age of residue avoidance, it is extremely important to monitor everything that goes into your calves and cows. Reading the labels on products should become standard procedure, even if you have been using the product for years and feel it is perfectly safe. A great example to look at is fluids. Some fluids are not labeled for intravenous (IV) use and must be extralabeled by a veterinarian. ”

To help solve this issue, ANIMART recently started private labeling fluids including Calcium Gluconate, Dextrose 50%, Hypertonic Saline Solution (Rx.) and Lactated Ringer’s (Rx.). All of these fluids are labeled as appropriate for IV use. Labeling our own fluids not only makes it easier for you to order, it also helps keep the product in-stock so it is always on-hand.

For more information, please call 855.226.9260 or visit animart.com/fluids

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Potassium Deficiency

What’s the issue?

  • Potassium is a confusing mineral in regard to dairy cow requirements: during the dry period, dietary potassium needs to be restricted in order to reduce hypocalcemia risk post-calving, but during early lactation cows need to consume fairly large amounts of this mineral.
  • During early lactation, especially during periods of heat stress, potassium needs to be supplemented in the ration in excess of current NRC (National Research Council) recommendations (currently set at 1.0% of ration dry matter).

What’s the impact?

  • Cows that are potassium deficient during early lactation can experience an increased incidence of rumen acidosis, displaced abomasum, and in severe cases, become recumbent and experience muscle damage.
  • Milk production can be reduced if cows are not provided enough potassium in their rations, especially during periods of heat stress.

Your Solution:

  • Feed a fresh cow ration containing at least 1.7% of ration dry matter as potassium and consider increasing lactating cow ration potassium levels even further during periods of heat stress.
  • Treat cows with reduced feed intake (due to disease) with potassium-rich supplements.
  • An effective way to determine if ration potassium levels are correct is by use of the dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) concept.  This is mainly used to influence calcium status pre-calving but also is helpful in preventing health issues post-calving.

Talk to your nutritionist regarding recommended levels of potassium in your rations and whether any adjustments are indicated.  Talk to your local or ANIMART veterinarian about products that can help correct potassium deficiency in cows with reduced feed intake.

*Reference:  Block, E. Make Sure Cows Get Enough Early Lactation Potassium, Progressive Dairyman, April 11, 2013.

Dr. Larry Judge
ANIMART Professional Services Veterinarian
larryj@animart.com
Cell: 517.930.4095

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