Utilizing the right dose of the right product at the correct time are three of those five key practices
Resistance is something we currently hear a lot about in agriculture, including the issue of parasite resistance in beef cattle.
This raises questions about parasite management choices. How can livestock operators efficiently manage internal parasites in their herds? What can they do to reduce the risk of parasite resistance ?
Parasites are a normal part of the gut flora of pastured cattle. Kept unmanaged, however, internal parasites can cause insidious production losses including a reduction in weights.
Grazing management, proper biosecurity protocols, keeping track of parasite loads, and strategic deworming are all tools producers can use to manage for parasites, Dr. John Gilleard, of the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine, stated during a recent BCRC webinar.
He also recommended following the ‘Five C’s’:.
Correct product: Using two different classes of parasite control products with two separate modes of action (i.e. fenbendazole and ivermectin) is most efficient.
Correct animal: Different classes of cattle have different parasite challenges. Work with a veterinarian to identify the unique needs of your cows, grass stocker cattle, weaned calves, or feeder cattle.
Correct dosage: Parasite control medicines are administered based on weight. Using the incorrect dosage, specifically underdosing, may put a herd at risk of resistance. If unsure, round up to ensure the animal receives enough product. It is best to weigh every animal and determine each dose accordingly.
Correct timing: Fall-only application of a dual internal/external parasite pour-on product may not properly protect cattle against internal roundworms. Spring and fall application of an internal parasite product (i.e. fenbendazole) may be required, but this should be based on a herd risk analysis.
Check for efficacy: Conducting fecal egg counts in manure samples following control will help you figure out if your strategy is functioning. Because a herd’s parasite load is not evenly distributed, some animals, particularly those in good condition, may be unaffected by parasites. Producers may opt to leave 10 to 20 per cent of their healthiest cattle untreated to reduce the rate of resistance development.
The webinar can be found at the Beef Cattle Research Council website by clicking on ‘Managing Internal Parasites.’ (Gilleard’s presentation begins about 13 minutes into the webinar.).