THE UDDER SIDE OF THE STORY
Fall is here and we have had a few cases of Anaplasmosis again. I have personally diagnosed 4 cases already. This disease is transmitted by blood sucking insects and/or needles. If we do not change needles at the chute while we are vaccinating our cattle, it can be spread. Beef quality assurance recommends that we change needles at least ever 10-15 head or injections. This will allow us to always use a sharp needle and cause fewer traumas to the muscle or tissue we are injecting. While also limiting the spread of blood borne diseases, while vaccinating our herd.
This is a parasite that invades red blood cells and destroys them. Cattle actually die of anemia. These animals can get very upset. If we push them too, hard they will get very angry and try to hurt us, (due to the lack of oxygen to the brain), and then fall over dead very quickly. They are anemic. Which means they do not have enough red cells to carry oxygen to all parts of their body, brain included. There may not be much saving these animals without a whole blood transfusion. Treatment for the disease is actually tetracycline dosed at 9 mg/lb. of body weight for 2 weeks. Now one dose of good old fashion LA 200 will save the cow, but they will revert back and become carriers of the disease in our herd. Now we have an animal in our herd spreading the disease to everybody else. But, if we continue giving LA 200 every 3 days for 2 weeks this will eliminate the carrier state. This means we are giving them at least 5 treatments of this medicine. We can also use a long acting tetracycline that lasts for 1 week and give it just 3 times to do the same thing.
Now the biggest thing to remember is that it takes at least 28 days for red cells to regenerate or for the cow’s body to make new red blood cells. So, these affected animals need to be treated with kid gloves for at least 30 days. Take it easy working these animals and do not cowboy them through the chute. We will need to work them very low stress. Otherwise we could have one or more get upset and just fall over dead.
Now prevention is trying to eliminate blood sucking insects. I don’t think we will ever get all of the flies and ticks eliminated. We just do our best. Some do add tetracycline to feed or mineral. This will help, but won’t eliminate it. And as of January 1, 2017, this will need to be a veterinary feed directive or VFD for short. By feeding tetracycline we may not have the outright disease, but we may end up with a carrier state in our herd in one or more animals. Plus, they will be a cost to doing this that may not be justified with Profit & Loss. But, then we cannot sell dead animals, so I have some questions here.