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

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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

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.


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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

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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

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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
Cell: 517.930.4095

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Cold Weather Strategy

(Reviewed: January 20, 2017)

We live in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the country for a reason – we can handle the cold, wind and snow Mother Nature throws at us every winter, but what about our cows? They have not chosen to brave our brutal winters, yet they must endure the elements.

A common concern during harsh winter months is the condition and care of milking cows.  Specifically, the condition of teat ends in relation to preventing new mastitis infections, keeping SCC low and stopping recurrent mastitis infections.

One may be surprised at the list of benefits to be had by keeping the teat ends healthy.  It is hard enough to keep up with teat end health during the other three seasons, so it is vitally important to have a game plan to survive the winter season. Why survive when the cows can thrive?

The harsh temperatures and winds winter brings can threaten the condition of teat end health the most.  Teats are less susceptible to temperature than they are to wind. Just like us, cows prefer a cold winter day with no wind verses a cool winter day with wind. When wind chills drop between 00F – 250F, frostbite is feasible and when wind chills drop below -250F, extra precautionary measures need to be taken as frostbite is probable.

There are several solutions to help prepare and surpass cold wind chills:

  1. Windbreaks
    1. Construct temporary windbreaks in areas near the return alley and open walk ways.
    2. Supply additional windbreaks for cows if they are turned outside for any amount of time.
  2. Teat Dips
    1. Store teat dips in a heated/insulated building to prevent freezing.  If product had previously frozen, make sure to mix before use.
    2. Consider using a winter teat dip.  Winter teat dips containing higher emollients will add extra conditioning to keep the teat ends from drying out or cracking.
  3. Dipping Procedure
    1. Do not stop dipping! Dipping of teats has been proven to help decrease the risk of transferring contagious pathogens and reduces the occurrence of new infections. Just because it’s cold out, does not mean all bacteria are dead.
    2. Make sure teats are dry before leaving the parlor.  This can be achieved by blotting the end of the teat to remove excess dip or simply by waiting until teat ends are dry before turning out the cows.
  4. Protocol Creation and Implementation
    1. Set up an on-farm protocol detailing what to do during times of low temperatures and high winds.
    2. Ex:  When temperature is x degrees, we will do
    3. When wind is x speed, we will do

Whichever solution is used to get the desired end result is great.  Each individual needs to find what works best for their farm as the effect of winter can vary based on barn layout, stage of lactation and the amount/type of environmental exposure endured.

If you have any questions about how to implement a cold weather strategy to keep your cows healthy this winter contact ANIMART’s Milk Quality Specialist, Leslie Gravatt.

Leslie Gravatt
Milk Quality Specialist

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Avoiding the Complications of Foot Rot

What is foot rot?

  • Foot rot, hoof rot or “foul-in-the-foot” are commonly used terms for an infection that affects the skin between the claws in adult cattle
  • Injury of the interdigital skin allows entry of the bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum, which causes infection, swelling, necrosis and often, a foul odor or discharge in the space between the claws

 How does it affect the herd?

  • Increased number of lame animals
  • Can cause significant losses in milk production, feed intake and mobility due to pain and fever
  • Most commonly affects adult animals, but calves may be affected if they are housed in an unsanitary environment
  • The infection and swelling can cause intense pain and marked lameness in cattle.  Usually only one foot is involved; the hind limbs are more commonly affected than the forelimbs.
  • Cattle that stand in wet, unsanitary conditions with unsteady footing are at the greatest risk.  Constant exposure to moisture, manure and urine softens the interdigital skin, making it more prone to injury
  • The condition can affect beef and dairy cattle equally and mainly depends on management of the housing system

What is the cost?

  • Treatment cost for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and possibly evaluation by a veterinarian
  • Production losses from individual animals can be significant due to decreased milk production, withdrawal times and weight loss

 How can you evaluate foot rot?

  • Check the skin between the claws, it will appear discolored, broken and may have a foul odor.  Cattle often show signs of pain when pressure is applied to this area of the foot
  • Be on the lookout for lameness,  Mildly affected animals  may have swelling between the claws  that extends up into the fetlock
  • Severely affected animals may be non-weight bearing, off-feed and have a fever
  • Evaluate living conditions for the animals including cleanliness, moisture level and footing

 What herd management techniques help prevent foot rot?

  • Keep high traffic areas scraped free of manure and properly drained
  • Consider use of footbaths containing copper sulfate (plus copper reducers) or formaldehyde
  • A bandage containing either topical antibiotics or copper sulfate may be used under the direction of the herd’s veterinarian
  • Schedule regular trims with a hoof trimming professional
  • Move treated animals to a clean, dry area
  • Treatment with an antibiotic approved for use in lactating dairy cattle is recommended as soon as signs are observed.  Improvement should be noted within 2 to 4 days.
  • All prescription medications must be used under the direction of the herd’s attending veterinarian.
  • Anti-inflammatory treatment may be warranted to reduce pain and fever.

Extra label treatment options are available if initial therapy is not effective.  Please consult with the herd veterinarian if alternate treatment is necessary.

Dr. Katie Speller
ANIMART Professional Services Veterinarian
Cell: 920.382.9783


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