Parasite control in your beef or dairy herd

With pastured cattle, you must be concerned with stomach, intestinal and lung worms, AND lice and mange.  With confinement reared cattle, only lice and mange are a concern.  Warbles no longer appear to be an issue in any situation.

The most effective and most broad-spectrum products for treatment are the avermectins: Eprinex, Cydectin, Ivomec and Bimectin.  They effectively treat for all of the parasites mentioned with a single treatment, and are all admistered as pour-ons.  How do they compare? (as of January 2018)

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In DAIRY herds, we recommend using the Eprinex or Cydectin for your dry cows, for heifers due within 2 months, and for your lactating cows. Use Ivomec or Bimectin for your other heifers and calves.

Remember that if your greatest problem is mange (and this is the primary problem in most confinement dairy herds), you must treat the entire herd at the same time to get effective control. For optimal control of lice and mange, the herd should be treated twice yearly at roughly 6 month intervals.

DeLice Pour-on is an alternative to the avermectins in lice and mange control and is less expensive.  It works reasonably well against mange and lice, but needs to be applied at least twice at 3 week intervals.  It has no effectiveness against any of the intestinal, stomach or lung worms.  The maximum dose is 150 cc (ml) per animal.  There is no milk or meat withdrawal with DeLice.

In BEEF herds, we recommend using Ivomec or Bimectin for all your animals.  Remember however, that there is a 55 day meat withdrawal on all treated animals.

All parasites reduce productivity, and if parasite worm burdens are severe, can cause death.  Moderate to severe lice burdens are very debilitating.  Mange is a nuisance because it makes cattle very itchy, and because it is the main cause of “udder rot”, the odorous, moist condition that is found along the cleft between the right and left halves of the udder.  In fall, we see many cows with mange lesions or crusts along the tail head and rear of the udder.

Research has consistently shown that treatment pays.  Do your cattle a favour, treat them regularly! 

(Dr. Henry Ceelen, 2017)