By Justin R. Crocheck, Key Cooperative Beef Specialist
A few years ago I wrote the article “Protect Your Investment,” in which I talked about several things that we could do to get the most out of our cow herd. I talked about how the use of an oral wormer like Safeguard® could be used to clean up the cowherd of profit-robbing internal parasites. Then I touched on the importance of proper mineral supplementation and the use of organic sources of trace minerals like Availa-4® in Stress Tubs and Wind&Rain® Breeder mineral to boost the reproductive efficiency of the cow herd. I also talked about protecting the herd from grass tetany due to low blood magnesium with the inclusion of magnesium in our Wind&Rain® Early Season (Mag) loose minerals and magnesium tubs. With so many cows changing hands this past fall and so far this spring, I thought this would be a good time to review the costly disease known as anaplasmosis that can take your investment from you.
Anaplasmosis, also known as yellow fever, is caused by a parasite that infects the red blood cells of cattle. The anaplasma attacks the red blood cells, which causes anemia and lowers the blood oxygen level in the cattle and can result in death. The parasite is spread by blood-sucking insects like horn flies, mosquitoes and ticks. They bite an infected animal and pick up the anaplasma and it multiples inside the insect. Then the next animal it makes contact with for a blood meal becomes infected. It may take from three to eight weeks after the bite to show the common disease symptoms of high fever, muscle weakness, change in temperament and the lack of appetite. The animal will start showing these signs when one percent of the red blood cells are infected. If we don’t respond to these early signs and we allow the anaplasma to over take the red blood cells, the result can be death. Those that do survive anaplasmosis will appear to be normal but should be treated with chlortetracycline 60 to 120 days to eliminate the carrier stage of the disease. Otherwise they could be a constant carrier of infection if not treated or removed from your herd. Treatment of these carrier animals should take place after the horn fly, mosquito and tick season.
You may say that this information is useful, but what does it have to do with my operation. Anaplasmosis and other blood-borne diseases may have come with along with recent cattle purchases. There are a couple of operations that have had these blood disorders in the Key Cooperative trade area in the last five years. If you suspect anaplasmosis in your animals, contact your veterinarian to pull blood. To prevent the spread of these diseases, we need to be careful not to transfer the disease with contaminated needles, ear taggers, tattooing equipment or any other equipment that comes in contact with blood. Another way to prevent anaplasmosis is to include Aureomycin® in your Wind&Rain® mineral program, and to pour cattle for ticks. We can also use Altosid® IGR in the mineral program to reduce the number of immature horn flies developing into blood-sucking adults that feed on cattle blood 20 to 30 times a day. The stakes are too high not to do everything we can to protect our investment from these bloodborne diseases.
If you would like more information on protecting your investment with Wind&Rain® minerals or about preseason mineral specials at Key Cooperative, please feel free to contact me at my cell phone number 515-291-0763 or via e-mail at Justin.Crocheck@keycoop.com.