Salmonella vaccination a vital investment for Co. Waterford farmer

Salmonella is a significant disease on Irish dairy farms and can greatly impact on herd productivity and profitability. The implications include high abortion rates, high calf mortality, reduced growth rates and depressed fertility in animals that do overcome the infection. It is also a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transferred easily from animals to humans.

Tom Power, Dairy Farmer, Waterford

One farmer who doesn’t take any risks when it comes to Salmonella is Waterford farmer, Tom Power. Farming in Drumhills, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Tom is milking a herd of 300 cows in a spring-calving system.

In the video below, Tom outlines the importance of Salmonella control on his farm and why vaccinating with Bovilis® Bovivac® S has become a critical component of his herd management programme.

“The herd is at a size now, where we can’t take any chances with their health and that’s why we vaccinate against Salmonella. Like most farmers do, we put a huge amount of time and effort into getting the cows into calf, so keeping them in calf is our number one priority,” says Tom.   

No farm is risk free

According to Tom’s local Veterinary Practitioner, Declan Gilchrist from Deise Vets in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, “no farm is risk free. Just because you haven’t had Salmonella on your farm before, doesn’t mean you are protected from it.”

Vaccination against Salmonella

Currently in Ireland, Bovilis® Bovivac® S is the only vaccine available for the control of salmonellosis in cattle. Healthy calves from approximately three weeks of age can receive the primary vaccination course of two 2ml injections separated by an interval of 14 to 21 days.

Calves over six months of age and adult cattle should receive two 5ml injections 21 days apart. All cattle vaccinated with the primary vaccination course of Bovilis® Bovivac® S should receive a 5ml injection at least two weeks prior to each period of risk or at intervals of no more than 12 months thereafter.

Tom concludes: “We try to give each animal a chance and by vaccinating against Salmonella every year, we are reducing the risk of illness and ensuring the cow’s health and performance is not impacted. As it is a zoonotic disease, vaccination also possibly lowers the risk to anyone working here on the farm.”

Reasons to control Salmonella 

There are two strains of Salmonella to be aware of for your herd. Salmonella dublin (S dublin) is the most common type associated with abortion in cattle in Ireland and has a high carrier status. Salmonella typhimurium is more commonly associated with diarrhoea outbreaks but can be a cause of abortions.

As well as causing abortions, clinical signs can vary from very mild diarrhoea to those which show obvious signs of fever, dehydration, and profuse diarrhoea, followed by death in a few days.

Clinical outbreaks in young calves can often resemble pneumonia. Acute infections can become chronic and may result in poor thrive, chronic diarrhoea, and terminal dry gangrene.

Salmonella is a significant disease on Irish dairy farms. It can survive for up to two years in the right conditions and the disease is shed mostly in faeces.

In many cases, cows that are infected with Salmonella will often appear clinically normal and Salmonella can survive for up to two years in the right conditions and the disease is shed mostly in faeces. In many cases, cows that are infected with

Salmonella will often appear clinically normal and healthy. It is common when these animals become stressed that they begin shedding the bacteria, infecting other cows, or getting sick themselves. 

Hygiene and biosecurity to control Salmonella

Vaccination is critical; however, to maximise animal immunity and minimise exposure, it must coincide with the strict management measures outlined below.

  • Maintain a closed herd.
  • If buying in, quarantine arrivals for a period of four weeks minimum.
  • Strict biosecurity should be particularly maintained around cases.
  • Faecal material from clinical cases must not enter the slurry tank.
  • A disinfection point should be in place for everyone who enters and leaves the farm to use.
  • A rodent and bird control plan should be in place, especially regarding access to feed stores.
  • Hygiene of buildings between batches of animals is also critical.

For more information about controlling Bovine Salmonellosis in your herd talk to your vet or visit Salmonella – Bovilis – MSD Animal Health


Gold standard animal healthcare at the centre of Wagyu beef enterprise

Revolutionary processes and a tried and tested animal health programme at Moss Hill Farm in Co. Antrim is paving the way to bring some of the world’s most coveted Wagyu beef to market.

Gary Fitzpatrick has been utilising the Bovilis vaccines along with Consultant and Supply Chain Specialist Dr Ryan Law to roll out a tailor-made vaccination and nutrition regime, which is not only producing the finest quality Wagyu beef, but in half the time.

Wagyu beef is one of the most prized meats in the world and that’s down to the marbling. It’s unparalleled in flavour but also boasts a range of health benefits for the consumer due to its high levels of Omega 3 and 6.

It usually takes up to 36 months to rear and finish Wagyu cattle, but Moss Hill is doing it in 15 months, not only improving economic efficiency but making a positive impact on the carbon footprint of this beef production system.

Gary Fitzpatrick says with 450 animals now in the supply chain, animal health is a centre focus for the WagyuGold enterprise: “We believe prevention is better than cure and that is clearly delivering results. Our robust vaccination programme starts for the calves entering the rearing unit at 3 weeks old.

“Here they are protected from a range of respiratory diseases using Bovilis® IBR Marker Live and Bovilis® Bovipast® RSP. We’ve used these products to protect our cattle here on the farm for many years, so we know the animals perform well using this programme. The calves get a shot of Bovilis® IBR Marker Live and Bovipast® RSP on the same day and a booster shot of Bovipast® RSP 4 weeks later.” This combination offers a very broad range of protection against some of the most common pneumonia causing agents.

“With Wagyu beef, the key to quality meat is a lack of stress in the animal, so maintaining good health is paramount. Vaccination reduces the risk of sickness which, in turn, improves our productivity.

“We’ve created a comfortable, pathogen-controlled environment using pressure ventilated housing. This combined with the tailored nutrition programme has resulted in calm and content cattle with no pressure at the feed trough, which is what I like to see.”

Elite Pedigree Genetics sourced semen from the top herds globally, focusing on marbling score and fineness. The first calves arrived at the farm, based near Craigavon, in March 2021 at an average weight of 40kgs.

Calves were immediately placed on Anupro’s nutritional regime which optimises performance on a low milk, early weaning system and were weaned after 30 days on farm, with minimal health issues.

Growth rates were exceptional considering calves were from of cross-bred cows, reaching target weights ahead of expectation. The rearing programme enhances immune function and creates a positive energy balance where metabolic programming starts from a very early age.

Gary Fitzpatrick added: “In the current climate, this feeding programme is low cost and suitable for all calf rearing systems, resulting in high performance and low antibiotic usage.”

The calves also get a two-shot primary course given 4 weeks apart of Bravoxin-10 which provide protection against clostridial disease. During the finishing period cattle have access to grass and specialised feed which is continuously monitored to ensure the animals are receiving the correct nutritional requirements.

A growing consumer appetite for traceable, locally bred produce gave Gary and Ryan an opportunity to explore creating an independent supply chain. Now they’ve not only created a high-end beef product but can ensure consistency, ultimately delivering the best consumer experience possible.

Even though the business is relatively new, Dr Ryan Law says they’re keen to grow: “We are currently collecting calves from around 30 dairy farms across Ireland. Wagyu’s have a short gestation period and are very easy calved which is an ideal combination for a dairy farmer. We would support any participating farmer with the blueprint we’ve put in place here at Moss Hill which will help ultimately deliver a luxury eating experience for the consumer.”

This robust animal healthcare programme offering an efficient and economically beneficial prospect to farmers across Ireland. The business is hoping to start selling the product within a few months and is in conversation with both independent meat sellers and a large luxury national retailer.

For more information on any of the vaccines or diseases mention in the above, talk to your vet.


Prevent coccidiosis in calves and lambs using Vecoxan

Vecoxan® is used for the prevention of coccidiosis in calves and lambs. For more information on Vecoxan, including how and why to use it, watch the video below.

To prevent disease and reduce the impact of sub-clinical disease, treatment using Vecoxan® should be administered close to the time when exposure to coccidiosis is known to occur.

Exposure is required for protective immunity to develop. Therefore, treatments should be administered 8-15 days after moving to a high-risk environment or if historical data is available, approximately one week before the expected outbreak.

How to use Vecoxan – ‘No one size fits all’

There is ‘no one size fits’ all for treating coccidiosis on farms. It is important to speak to your vet about the best approach for your farm.

Historical treatment

Treat whole group 1 week before expected clinical signs: Requires excellent records, knowledge of previous coccidiosis outbreaks & management history in herd/flock.

Unknown

Treat 2 weeks after exposure or treat at time of stress factor (e.g. dehorning, castration, transport, weaning, regrouping etc.)

Clinical Outbreak

Reactive treatment: Treat all calves in a group when diarrhoea is first seen in 1 or 2 calves/lambs

It is important to always treat all the calves in the group, as coccidiosis is a group problem, not an individual problem.

A single administration to susceptible animals during risk periods is appropriate although a re-treatment may be necessary if the period of risk is prolonged.

Why use Vecoxan?

  1. Flexible product
  2. Licensed to prevent coccidiosis in both lambs and calves
  3. Allows natural immunity to develop (1)
  4. Higher daily live weight gain following use of diclazuril (2)
  5. Environmentally friendly (3)

Check our new Vecoxan brochure

References

  1. Philippe, P., Alzieu, J.P., Taylor, M.A. and Dorchies, P., 2014. Comparative efficacy of diclazuril (Vecoxan®) and toltrazuril (Baycox bovis®) against natural infections of Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii in French calves. Veterinary parasitology206(3-4), pp.129-137.
  2. Agneessens J, Goossens L, Louineau J, Daugschies A and Veys P (2006). Build up of immunity after a diclazuril (Vecoxan) treatment in calves, Poster at World Buiatrics Congress, Nice.
  3. Van Leemput L. & Louineau., (2007). Diclazuril for coccidiosis in ruminants: safe for the environment? Janseen Animal Health, Beerese, Belgium.

Pr€vention for Profit competition: Judging

The standard is very high for this year’s Pr€vention for Profit competition with the judges very impressed with each of the four finalists.

This week, the judging for this year’s competition took place with the judges traveling to all four corners of Ireland to meet each of the lucky finalists.

The judges were particularly struck by the the attention to detail by all farmers. Each farmer was committed to rearing all their calves to the highest of standard and demonstrated care and compassion for their animals in doing so.

From birth through to weaning, each farmer was implementing best practice when is came to calf rearing and were excellent examples of how Irish dairy farmers are rearing calves on farms.

The ‘Pr€vention for Profit’ competition this year is focused on the newborn calf. The #MyCalfOurFuture concept is to highlight the importance of the newborn calf, to the future and sustainability of the farm, the farmer and their family and their rural economy.

The finalists were judged on the four key pillars of production. These pillars are nutrition, genetics, management and animal health; together giving an indication of that farms performance and profitability. 

Through this competition we aim to showcase the management of Irish dairy calves by identifying farmers that implement best practice with regard to calf rearing.

The winning farmer will receive an all-expenses paid study tour to mainland Europe where they will get to spend some time on the top performing dairy farms to see and learn how their systems operate.

Keep an eye out in the Irish Farmer’s Journal where we will be featuring each of the four finalists!


Tackling coccidiosis in calves in Co. Tipperary

Coccidiosis is an increasingly prominent disease in young calves and according to Eamon O’Connell from Summerhill Veterinary Clinic in Tipperary, farmers must be extra vigilant, particularly where hygiene is poor.

“When we started our practice 15 years ago, coccidiosis in calves was pretty much unheard of, whereas now, it is one of the main causes of disease that we are seeing on farm. Failure to control the disease can have a huge impact on a dairy farm, leading to massive labour costs and stress, not to mention the reduction in daily live-weight gain and thrive in the calves,” stated Eamon.

One farmer who witnessed the impact of coccidiosis on farm is dairy farmer, Shane Hanrahan, who is milking 110 cows, in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Hear Shane’s story in the video below.

“Historically, we had issues with coccidiosis when calves were turned out to grass. Following the advice of my vet, Eamon O’Connell, we implemented a rigorous preventative strategy using strict hygiene protocols and the oral solution, Vecoxan. 

“It has worked really well for us. We’ve had no calf scour and calf health has never been better,” said Shane.

Coccidiosis in calves

Coccidiosis is a disease of the intestine and is often seen in calves ranging in age from 3 weeks to 6 months of age. The disease is caused by a tiny parasitic organism that damages the lining of the gut.

Clinical cases include watery diarrhoea, raised tail head and often the calf may be seen straining to pass faeces. More subtle signs of the disease can be decreased appetite and a reduction in daily live-weight gain.

“In Shane’s case, his calves were having issues with coccidiosis 2-3 weeks post turnout to grass. He is also seeing early cases of coccidiosis in younger calves indoors, particularly where calves are moving from individual pens to group pens and similarly, after stressful situations such as dehorning at 3-4 weeks old,” said Eamon. 

Preventative plan for coccidiosis

“We tried other products on the market; however, Vecoxan has worked the best for us. Every calf now gets treated with Vecoxan at 4 weeks old, to prevent coccidiosis indoors, and receive a second dose at 2 weeks post turnout the to tackle the disease at pasture,” said Shane. 

Vecoxan can be used as a preventative. The active ingredient, diclazuril has a short duration of action which allows exposure to the parasite and the development of natural immunity. This reduces the risk of reinfection going forward.

Eamon advised that the whole group are treated the same, as failure to do so could cause reinfection. If one calf is sick with coccidiosis, we must presume that a number of calves are sub clinical cases also. 

He explained, “When the calves leave the individual pens and enter group pens, they should be left for 7-10 days to gain exposure to the parasite. The whole group should then be treated with Vecoxan as a preventative.

Similarly, when calves are let outdoors, they need exposure to the parasite and after 2 weeks post turnout, the whole group should receive their second dose of Vecoxan. On farms where records are available, the whole group can be treated one week before the expected outbreak.” 

Vecoxan can be administered orally at a rate of 1ml per 2.5kg body weight. For example, a 50kg calf will receive 20mls of Vecoxan.  

Hygiene is key to disease control

Eamonn stresses that Vecoxan alone should not be used in place of poor hygiene and a dirty environment.

“Feeding equipment and calf sheds should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and calves should be kept dry with a warm and comfortable straw bed.

“If your calves experienced coccidiosis last year, look at the paddocks that were a source of disease and avoid them if possible.

“Areas around water troughs and feed troughs can be a source of infection also, so make sure they are clean and dry. If the area begins to get mucky or wet, it is important to move the troughs to a new location,” stated Eamon. 

Don’t take chances

Eamon concluded: “For farmers who suspect a case of coccidiosis on farm this spring or who have had a historic problem with the disease, it is critical to act promptly and contact your local vet to formulate a preventative plan.” 

If you suspect your animals to have coccidiosis, contact your vet. They will carry out a full clinical examination and take faecal samples to confirm if it is coccidiosis. Treatment of your calves will be very much dependent on the outcome of the sample results.

Vecoxan – Added Benefits

  • Vecoxan can be administered to animals of any age or any weight. It is safe to use in calves, lambs, cattle and sheep that are indoors or outdoors.
  • Studies have shown that dairy heifers treated with Vecoxan achieved better average daily live-weight gains than those treated with a toltrazuril based product.
  • Vecoxan is environmentally friendly as the manure from treated animals has no environmental concerns and can be safely applied to land.

It’s back – The Pr€vention for Profit competition

Now we’re looking for the best dairy calf rearer in the country! #MyCalfOurFuture

Competition Details

This year, the Pr€vention for Profit competition is focused on calves. The #MyCalfOurFuture concept highlights the importance of the newborn calf to the sustainability of the farm, the farmer, their family and the rural economy.

Prevention for Profit competition

This competition is aimed at dairy farmers who are maximising their on-farm profitability by focusing on the four key pillars of production – Nutrition, Genetics, Management and Animal Health. We aim to showcase the management of Irish dairy calves by identifying farmers who implement best practice when it comes to calf rearing.

Of those that enter the competition, there will be one dairy farmer selected from each of the four provinces as finalists. The four finalists will be assessed based on the four pillars of production. A panel of four judges will conduct a single half day farm visit to assess their calves’ level of productivity and profitability.

The winning farmer will win an all-expenses paid study tour to mainland Europe to visit some top-performing dairy farms, to see and learn how they operate. For your chance to win, click the link below. Good luck!

Please read the terms and conditions of the competition, here.


Bovilis Scour Vaccine – The leading calf scour vaccine

The Bovilis Scour Vaccine is a single-shot injectable vaccination, given to pregnant cows to subsequently help protect the calf from diarrhoea caused by rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli (k99), once the calf has been fed sufficient colostrum.

The Bovilis Scour Vaccine is a single 2ml vaccine. It is administered to pregnant cattle 12 – 3 weeks prior to calving. It is given into the muscle of the animal.

scour vaccine

The Bovilis Scour Vaccine will stimulate the dam to produce antibodies which will protect the calf against rotavirus, coronavirus and E.coli (K99). These antibodies will be stored in the dam’s colostrum. The dam will pass these antibodies to the calf through the colostrum at the first milk feeding.

This is why is is crucial that the calf receives adequate colostrum as soon as possible after birth.

Remember the 1,2,3 rule when feeding colostrum. In the 1st 2 hours, ensure the calf gets at least 3 litres of colostrum. Feeding the calf good quality colostrum will enhance the protection of the calf against these scour causing pathogens.

New additions to the Bovilis Scour Vaccine

The Bovilis Scour Vaccine has undergone some recent changes. The following are some of the changes to note:

  • The vaccine pack has changed from blue to purple packaging.
  • A new 50 dose pack size, is now available to complement our current 5 dose and 20 dose presentations and to support use whatever the herd size.
  • All presentations are being transitioned from glass to a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle, instead of glass vials, to reduce the risk of breakage.
scour vaccine

Bovilis Scour Vaccine – How does it work?

  • Single shot primary course
  • Low dose volume (2ml shot)
  • Intramuscular (IM) administration
  • Broad window of vaccination (Vaccinate pregnant cows 12-3 weeks pre-calving)
scour vaccine

Why choose the Bovilis Scour Vaccine?

  • Reduces the severity of diarrhoea caused by E. coli (K99)
  • Reduces the incidence of scours caused by rotavirus
  • Reduces the shedding of virus by calves infected with rotavirus and coronavirus
  • Unique 28 day in-use shelf life
  • Reduces the risk of breakage with new PET bottles
  • Available in 5, 20 and now 50 dose packs

NEW calf scour guide

Want to learn more about calf scour and how you can use the Bovilis Scour Vaccine to protect your calves against scour? Check out our NEW Calf Scour Guide by scrolling through the PDF document below.

Ask your vet about our new Calf Scour Guide and how you can use the Bovilis Scour Vaccine to help reduce the risk of calf scour occurring on your farm.


Do calves need an IBR vaccine?

Turning calves out to grass for the first time is seriously rewarding. Rearing healthy calves in the first place takes great effort and hard work.

Minimising the impact of diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia can be challenging and this year was no exception. Weaning dairy calves, dealing with coccidiosis threats, pneumonia and clostridial vaccination; the calf ‘to do’ list can be comprehensive. What about IBR vaccination?

IBR – Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis

Infection with IBR virus is widespread in the cattle population in Ireland, with evidence of exposure in over 70% of herds (both beef and dairy).  It is capable of causing disease (both clinical and subclinical) resulting in huge economic losses at farm level through lack of production and treatment costs.

The majority of infections are seen in cattle greater than six months of age, however all ages are at risk of IBR.

Clinical infections usually occur when animals are infected for the first time. Signs such as discharge from the eyes and nose, loud laboured breathing, high temperatures, resulting depression and reduced appetite may be experienced. Milk yield may be affected, and abortion may also occur.

Subclinical infections are those without overt clinical signs and for this reason may go unnoticed for some time in a herd. Subclinical IBR can result in losses of 2.6kg of milk/cow/day.

Those infected for the first time shed high levels of the virus for approximately two weeks. At times of stress (e.g. mixing/housing/breeding/calving) the virus can reactivate, and that animal may shed again. Every time an animal sheds the virus it has the potential to infect more herd mates.

Control of IBR

There are 3 components to controlling this endemic disease:

  1. Vaccination
  2. Biosecurity
  3. Culling

Vaccination

For effective control of IBR, vaccination must:

  • Reduce the number of new infections – Main cause of virus spreading in a herd
  • Reduce severity of clinical signs – Limit cost of disease impact

The time to start vaccination depends on the particular epidemiological situation of each farm. In the absence of virus circulation among the young calf group, vaccination is started at the age of three months, revaccination six months later and all subsequent revaccinations within six to 12 month periods.

This will provide protection against IBR virus and minimise the number of animals that become carriers. Herds that have a moderate to high seroprevalence of IBR, are high-risk and/or have clinical signs are best to remain on a six monthly vaccination programme until IBR is under better control in the herd.

If vaccination needs to be carried out before the age of three months (high prevalence/high-risk herds/disease in calves) then intranasal vaccination is the recommended route in order to overcome maternally derived antibodies.

An intramuscular vaccination programme then commences at three-four months of age, as stated above. For the spring calving herd this will mean calves will receive their first dose of a live IBR vaccine in June/July 2021.

Bovilis IBR Marker live

Bovilis IBR marker live provides protection by reducing clinical signs and virus excretion. It is the only single dose IBR marker vaccine for use either intranasally or intramuscularly. It is a 2ml dose with a fast onset of immunity (four days after intranasal administration and 14 days after intramuscular administration).

Biosecurity

Biosecurity can be further divided into bio exclusion and bio-containment.

Bio exclusion (the process of keeping disease out of a herd) is of particular importance in Ireland as many herds purchase cattle (e.g. the stock bull), avail of contract rearing for heifers, attend marts or shows (present Covid-19 restrictions excluded).

IBR can cross distances of up to five metres so neighbouring cattle during the grazing season can also be a source of infection, or vice versa.

Bio containment (the process of reducing the threat of infection within a herd) relies mainly on herd management strategies such as segregating age groups and indeed vaccination.

Culling

Culling of animals which have tested positive for IBR is a quick method to reduce herd prevalence. However, in many herds it is not a practical option as there are simply too many animals which are positive (once infected an animal becomes a life-long carrier) and therefore it would not be economically viable.

In summary, the majority of herds in Ireland are of medium or high seroprevalence so vaccination with a live IBR marker vaccine combined with biosecurity are the most practical and appropriate control methods. Many herds are missing a trick by only vaccinating the cows.

This is controlling clinical signs and the impact of IBR on production but not necessarily reducing the spread (to unvaccinated younger cattle) and therefore the number of new infections each year.

The aim of whole herd vaccination is to reduce the level of IBR in the herd over time. In answer to the opening question – yes; to IBR vaccination of calves.


MSD Animal Health bolsters commitment to udder health with new teat sealant, CepraLock®

CepraLock® – a new teat sealant recently launched by MSD Animal Health highlights the company’s commitment to the future of udder health in Ireland.

Available to vets and farmers from June 2021, this new teat sealant is a significant addition to the current MSD Animal Health dry cow portfolio – complementing its market leading dry cow intramammary product and the wider dairy herd health portfolio.  

With new regulations on veterinary medicines coming into effect in January 2022, MSD Animal Health is dedicated to supporting both vets and farmers, by supplying them with the necessary tools required to safely transition from blanket dry cow therapy practices and the adoption of a more selective approach to dry cow therapy based on individual cow information.

This is known as a more holistic, cow centered approach industry wide.

CepraLock® Launch

Speaking at the recent MSD Animal Health webinar, Udder Health – The Past, The Present and The Future, Peter Edmondson, Veterinary Consultant, stated:

“The veterinary practitioner has a really important role to play in the transition from blanket dry cow therapy to selective dry cow therapy.

“This is an opportunity for veterinary practitioners to engage with and educate clients on best practice protocols such as hygiene, product selection and data driven decisions for a more sustainable approach to dry cow therapy.”

According to Dr. Jantijn Swinkels, DVM, PhD, Ruminants Technical Director Veterinarian at MSD Animal Health, all “farmers should be using internal teat sealants, with studies showing that nearly 25% of teat ends remain open for as long as six weeks after drying off.

“Adding a teat sealant to a dry cow management program helps prevent infection and supports the responsible use of antibiotics.”

CepraLock® is designed for use at drying-off, with or without a dry cow intramammary antibiotic, and provides an important inert barrier in the teat canal to reduce the risk of a bacterial infection of the udder during the dry period.

CepraLock® will be available from June 2021 and can be purchased in single boxes of 24 tubes (6 cows) and buckets of 144 tubes (36 cows). Both include biodegradable disinfectant wipes for udder preparation.

MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them, through comprehensive health management solutions, products, technologies, and services. 

For more information on CepraLock® contact your vet.


Flies – Nuisance by name, nuisance by nature


With temperatures slowly on the rise, next on the agenda – fly season

Impact on production and spread of disease

Anyone who has worked with cattle during the summer months needs little reminding of the annoyance which flies can cause. They can be responsible for a state of unrest in the parlour for both cows and milker.

The constant source of irritation at grass interferes with normal grazing activity and has been shown to cause a reduction in milk and butterfat production.

They are also capable of transmitting viruses, bacteria and certain parasites. Flies are implicated in the spread of common diseases such as ‘summer mastitis’ and ‘pink eye’.

Why choose Butox Pour-On this summer?

Butox Pour On contains the active ingredient, deltamethrin. Butox provides the longest protection available on the market (10 WEEKS) against flies. Product information:

  • Butox Pour On is indicated for the prevention and treatment of flies and lice in cattle and sheep
  • Contains the active ingredient deltamethrin
  • Provides up to 10 weeks protection against flies*
  • Safe to use during pregnancy and lactation. 18 day meat and 12 hour milk withdrawal periods for cattle. Best to apply this product after evening milking and ensure that the full withdrawal period is respected
  • 30ml dose for cattle over 300kg. The 2.5 liter pack will treat 83 cows
  • Sold in 250ml, 1 and 2.5 liter packs

It is advised to pour the dose along the animal’s spine from the base of the head to the tail. The person applying should wear gloves.

Butox in cattle

IndicationsDose rate
FliesPrevention and treatment of flies on calves and other cattleUp to 100kg: 10ml
100kg – 300kg: 20ml
Over 300kg: 30ml
LicePrevention and treatment of biting and sucking lice on calves and adult cattle10ml per animal irrespective or weight

Types of flies

There are 5 broad categories in Ireland:

  • House or stable flies
  • Face flies
  • Head flies
  • Warble flies
  • Blowflies

Stable flies

Also known as biting house flies, they are mostly found close to buildings inhabited by animals and man. During warm wet weather they may enter sheds and be an annoyance to housed cattle, a particular concern for feedlot cattle. The irritation caused by their bites results in a reduced feed conversion efficiency affecting both meat and milk production.

Face flies

These are the top offenders for annoyance of cattle at pasture. Worst case scenario they can also cause damage to the eye tissue of affected animals. They have been linked to the transmission of Moraxella bovis the bacteria responsible for ‘pink eye’.

Head flies

They are often present in large swarms. Due to the intense irritation and annoyance, their presence can result in self-inflicted wounds (from scratching). They pose a risk for “pink eye” and there is strong evidence to suggest head flies are involved in the transmission of summer mastitis.

Warble flies

This type of fly no longer occurs in Ireland though rare reports exist of cattle ‘gadding’ – showing hysterical behaviour – that have not been confirmed infestations. However, it is important to recognise the condition as the risk of infestation may still exists with importation of animals.

Infestation is associated with the larval stage which over-winters in the animal and then appears as soft, painful lumps on the hide the following May-June. As a result, warble flies may cause issues with subsequent carcase and hide damage. Suspected warble fly infestations should be reported immediately to the Department of Agriculture.

Blow flies

Mostly associated with fly strike in sheep, cattle can succumb to infestation too. Large populations of these adult flies are associated with poor waste management and suboptimal hygiene.

Treatment and control

Indoor environment

Removing or at least reducing the source of infection is the most useful approach in controlling stable flies. Areas of manure/straw/decaying matter should not be allowed to accumulate as these areas provide the perfect environment for flies to breed.

Pasture management

Reduction in the use of fields bordering woodlands has been advised in the peak risk period (June-September) where possible in the control of head flies.

Animal options

Pour-on and spray preparations together with insecticide impregnated ear tags are widely used to reduce fly annoyance. For head flies a number of repellent creams are available for application around the base of the horns however many of these only prevent skin contact.

In other words they do not reduce the annoyance caused by flies. Pour-on products applied at the dosing intervals recommended by the manufacturer will also aid control. It is best practice to start fly control early in the season (to reduce buildup of the fly population).

There are many products on the market and it is most advisable to read the guidelines supplied by the manufacturers and adhere to exact instructions regarding administration, dose, frequency of use and withdrawal periods.

In summary, the annoyance caused to cattle by flies is a real issue which has implications for both animal health and welfare. Remember to start fly control treatment in time this summer.

For more information on Butox Pour On talk to your vet.

References
*Depending on the degree of infestation, fly species and weather conditions