Armor Animal Health Technical Bulletins are written for you, the producer, by our staff veterinarians. These easy-to-follow, printable flyers are a great resource for your operation. For more information, feel free to call our professional service staff at 866.986.9404.
Animal Handling Equipment
There many misconceptions about products such as electric shockers, hip hoists, cow slings and hobbles. When used correctly and as a part of your Down Cow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), these products can not only help your animal get back to health quicker, but can keep you safe in otherwise dangerous situations. Armor Animal Health recommends all operations have a team in charge of handling Down Cows. For assistance on creating a Down Cow SOP and for forming a Down Cow Team, please contact Armor Animal Health.
Individually, a producer can experience an annual loss of $54* per cow where a persistently infected (PI) animal is present, which makes BVD testing a great return on investment. BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhea) testing can be a quite simple when process for BVD PI animals.
BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhea) is a viral disease which can have a high economic impact on farms. BVD is caused by Type 1 or Type 2 BVDV (Bovine Viral Diarrheal Virus). The virus is spread through direct contact with bodily fl uids which include: saliva, nasal discharge, urine, feces or semen. It can also be spread by biting insects, inanimate objects, biologic products (colostrum) and other animal species. Since BVD only survives outside the body for a short time, direct contact between animals is the greatest risk for spreading the disease. Cleaning and disinfecting waterers and feeding troughs will help minimize spread as well.
Hypocalcemia or low blood calcium can cause what we know as milk fever and can be an important determinant of fresh cow health. It is usually linked to other fresh cow problems. Subclinical hypocalcemia (not showing clinical signs) actually has greater costs vs. clinical hypocalcemia. This is because there is a greater percentage of the herd affected. Second and greater lactation cows have a noticeable decline in calcium, highest being 12-24 hours after calving. Colostrum created (usually 10 L) contains 23 g of calcium or more. Blood calcium is used for skeletal muscle strength, gastrointestinal motility as well as muscle and nerve function. This can lead to a reduction in appetite, increases in metabolic diseases (DA’s, Ketosis, etc.) and decreases in milk yield.
Cold stress occurs when a calf expends energy to stay warm. This diverts energy away from growth and the immune system, thus compromising weight gain and calf health. Newborn calves are the most susceptible to cold stress due to their low body fat and minimal grain intake, so an increase in scours and pneumonia cases is very common during the colder months. Taking a few extra steps to ensure calves are well tended to and comfortable will go a long way in helping them reach their full potential.
The decision to cull a cow is always difficult. Consider the following: • Does she have difficulties with calving/reproduction? • Is her structure (feet & legs) favorable? • Does she have below average milk production? • Is she temperamental? • Does she have chronic udder/mastitis problems? • Is she hard to milk?
Producers should dehorn at less than 2 weeks of age. This makes the experience less stressful for the calf and less work for the producer. A producer should also consider the age recommendations for the method used to dehorn. The producer should always use pain management practices while dehorning.
In today’s modern dairy facilities, occasionally there will be a down cow that will not be able to rise and walk. Many reasons can cause a cow to go down, ranging from disease and injury, to a simple slip on the concrete. It is important to take a proactive approach in handling a down cow situation. Devising a Down Cow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and naming a Down Cow Team goes a long way in getting the cow up and back to production quickly and humanely.