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Agricultural News

Protecting Your Cowherd from Devastating Diseases

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:37:17 CST

Protecting Your Cowherd from Devastating Diseases

There are several diseases cow-calf producers should concentrate on keeping out of their herd by having a good biosecurity program. Kansas State University Veterinarian Dr. Greg Hanzilcek, serves as the director of Production Animal Field Investigations. Hanzilcek said there are a couple of extremely important diseases that producers need to pay attention to, especially Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) and Trichomoniasis. These diseases can be introduced from animals being brought into a herd from an outside source.

"They are from animals that we purchased from and we have actually brought in a disease that our herd hasn't had before," Hanzilcek said. "BVD and Trichomoniasis - those are probably two of our biggest concerns on cow-calf operations as far as purchased and as far as the negative impacts they have on the health of the herd."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Hanzilcek on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

In preventing BVD from entering your herd, Dr. Hanzilcek said there are several things a rancher can do to help protect herd health. If a producer is bringing in animals, he said it is important to make sure those animals are not "Persistently Infected" or PI animals. This can be verified in an easy test where you take an ear notch out of each of the animals and send the samples to a laboratory to be tested. He said for a couple of dollars you can make sure these animals are not PI's. Even if they are not PI animals, Hanzilcek said if they have been exposed to BVD in the last week or two and they can bring that into the herd, similar to how flu spreads through exposure in the human population.

It's important that producers not only test their cattle to make sure they are not PI's, but also isolate them from the rest of the herd for 30 to 45 days. If you are bringing in bulls or animals that are not pregnant then a simple ear notch test will ensure those animals are not PI's. If a producer is purchasing heifers or cows that are pregnant, Hanzilcek said producers will need to test the mothers as well as their babies when they are born, as most PI calves are born to animals that are not PI's.

Ranchers should also consider biosecurity measures in preventing Trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as "Trich". A disease that can only be spread during breeding and the bull is considered the carrier. Hanzilcek said the females will typically become pregnant, but they will lose that fetus very early in the pregnancy. Trich is a problem in Kansas and it can be devastating to a herd with an estimated 60 percent of the cowherd or heifer groups open because of this venereal disease. Hanzilcek said there is no treatment for Trich, so one of the best ways to prevent it from entering your herd is in buying virgin bulls. If you are buying bulls from a herd you are familiar with he still recommends getting at least one Trich test on the bulls. If you are buying bulls from unknown source, Hanzilcek recommends getting two Trich tests on each bull and having those tests performed by a veterinarian one week apart.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Dr. Greg Hanzilcek of K-State
right-click to download mp3


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