2018 Fall Cow/Calf Newsletter

posted: by: Paul McCann, DVM Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Bear Paw Veterinary Service

Cow/calf Newsletter

August, 2018



·         Dr. Brenee Peterson

·         Nutritional breakfast meeting

·         Pre-conditioning vaccine timing

·         Reproductive ultrasounding

·         Ivermectin Pour-on resistance

·         “Endovac”  Gram Negative bacteria management


It is our pleasure to introduce Brenee Peterson, DVM to our clients.  Brenee is native to Havre and having finished veterinary school at WSU she decided to join our practice.  She has a strong interest in cattle and looks forward to working with you all.


Tuesday, August 21st we have scheduled our annual Producer Nutritional Breakfast Meeting.  This meeting will start with breakfast served at our large animal clinic meeting room at 7am.  We will host Dr. Butch Whitman who will addresse the use of our natural resources and supplements to help you strategize your fall, winter and spring nutritional plans.  He is a wonderful resource to place before you and we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about managing the highest input cost that you have as cattle producers. 


The timing of preconditioning calves is a common question that I contend with.  Several factors are important in getting the best results:

ü  Age of calves (maternal antibodies, immune system development)

ü  Stressors (nutritional and temperature  changes, parasitism)

ü  Clinical illness (summer pneumonia)


Age:  Maternal antibodies tend to deplete from 4-6 months of age, therefore I suggest that you vaccinate them after at least 4 months of age.  Their immune system should be ready to respond to the antigens in the vaccine.


Stressors:  As we approach the fall of our year, the pasture nutritional value & water quality begins to wane, the milk production lessens (becomes more like a treat to the calf instead of sustenance).  The day to night temperatures begin to lengthen, chilling the short haired calves predisposing them to pneumonia.  The worm larvae the calves have picked up grazing are starting to incrementally increase, causing digestive inflammation and robbing their host of vital proteins.


Clinical illness:  If you have had to treat calves for summer pneumonia, preconditioning is an important tool to curb the problem.  If you wait too long, you will suffer losses and lack of production.  Injectable vaccine takes 2 weeks to work (for the immune system to produce antibodies and defensive cells).


I realize that one of the biggest factors is the time, labor and facility to precondition your calves.  March calves are 5 months old at this point and prime for wrestling with pneumonia due to the stressors mentioned.  If you can precondition them soon, it will lessen the illness risk and enhance their weight gain.


Reproductive Ultrasounding:  (Preg checking)

The cattle industry has moved to preferring ultrasound pregnancy check vs palpation.  The goal we have from the veterinarian perspective is to use this examination to:

·         Verify pregnancy

·         Detect early or later calves (owners preferences)

·         Evaluate if “open” (not pregnant)… why?

·         We suggest you use Reproductive Records at the time of preg check (it’s not just yep/nope anymore):

    • Body Condition Score (BCS) body muscle/fat index
    • Breeding thus calving cycle analysis
      • Identify factors of infertility
      • Success of AI programs
      • 1st cycle %, 2nd etc.
    • Health products used at preg check processing

Ultrasound can:

                                Identify age in days pregnant vs. the month of pregnancy by palpation.

                                Identify fetal death.

                                Identify fetal gender (sex).

Ultrasound is most accurate:

                                Aging (30 to 90 days of pregnancy).  Therefore, June AI = September ultrasound

                                Sexing (60 to 90 days of pregnancy). Therefore, May AI = August ultrasound

*After 3 months of pregnancy the womb can drop down in the abdomen of the dam and can be difficult to scan due to rectal (colon) stretch limitations.

*Early, accurate breeding documentation of cows and added value to bred sale heifers is where this technology pays off.  Heifers that have ultrasound verification of age are typically worth $50 more and if the pregnancy is sexed $100 more value can often be realized.

*Verifying AI pregnancies is a good application of ultrasound.

*Identifying dead pregnancies is difficult by palpation but is possible with ultrasound.


May 23rd bred yields a March 1st calving…July 20th bred yields a May 1st calving, most heifers are bred to calf earlier so mid-August and September preg checks are ideal.  Culls and opens can be identified and sold later in the season.


 Ivomec Resistance:

We are confirming resistance to the Ivermectin pour on.  Herds that were properly and timely processed are experiencing resistance to this product.  It likely stems from the over use of this chemical. 

Ivermectin is in a class of chemical called avermectins.  Also in this class are:  Dectomax, Cydectin, LongRange, Eprinex), when we have avermectin resistance, we lose many of our current tools.

It is prudent to utilize various products and timing to keep the herd parasitism from affecting your production.

I suggest that you use the injectable form of avermectins in bulls, young cattle and thin cattle for the control of internal parasites (worms).  I suggest that you use other products to help control the lice.  The timing of lice product use is November & December in our area.


Endovac Bovi:

Most of our problem bacteria are of a type called Gram Negative…

·         Pneumonia

o   Pasteurella Multocida

o   Mannhemia Haemolytica

o   Haemophilus Somnus

·         Scours

o   Salmonella

o   E.coli

·         Foot rot & Diphtheria

o   Fusobacterium necrophorum

·         Pinkeye

o   Morexella

·         Reproductive disease

o   Vibrio (Campylobacter fetus)

o   Brucella Abortus (Bangs)


I have been researching the value of a vaccine called Endovac—Beef.  I have used a similar equine product for years to manage horses sensitive to grass founder.  The principle behind this vaccine is it helps the animal build antibodies to the core of gram negative bacteria.  This lessens the toxins that all of the above bacteria release when the animal is stressed or challenged with these bacteria.


This vaccine does not interfere with other vaccines and is complementary to creating an animal that can remain healthy under stressful conditions (e.g. calving, weaning).  I think the best application of this vaccine is in the development and maintenance of our females and bulls.  The targets are scours, diphtheria, foot rot, pneumonia and pink eye protection.  It apparently can substitute for scour, footrot and pinkeye vaccine.  It currently is not recognized to prevent the shipping fever that preconditioning calf contracts require… but it can help the efficacy of Pasteurella and Mannhemia vaccines.


As my herd health suggestions indicate:  Replacement heifers should receive this at the time of Bangs vaccination and again with prebreeding vaccinations.  Cows should receive this at preg check with their repro vaccine.  Bulls should receive this in the Fall with vaccine and parasite management.


This vaccine applies to so many health problems that putting it into the vaccine program of our herds has many potential benefits and no negative effects.  I look forward to seeing the results of this product.  If you have questions about this recommendation, please feel free to call.

                                                                                                                                                Best Regards,

                                                                                                                                      Paul W. McCann, DVM