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September 2009 Archive for Cattle Healthline

RSS By: Dan Goehl, DVM, Beef Today

Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow/calf beef operations.

Should This Young Calf Be Vaccinated?

Sep 04, 2009

A reader asks:

Got an animal health question?

Click here to e-mail your question
to Dan Goehl

My husband and I have not been around cattle, but only for a few months now. We have one bull, a steer calf which is now 6 months old, and 5 heifers. We recently purchased a bull calf at the sale barn. I thought I would like to bottle feed another one, as I had done with my steer calf. The bull calf seemed about the same age of my steer, 2 weeks, but we have had him for almost 2 more weeks.

It is very strange to us, but this calf will NOT take a bottle. We tried for several days, but noticed that he wanted to graze. So we let him graze but also purchased starter feed and added dry milk powder to it. He would NOT eat it. We have totally eliminated any form of milk, and he seems to do fine. He grazes, eats feed, drinks water, etc.

He has put on some weight, but he is only 4 or 5 weeks old and surely he is not getting the nutrients he needs. Also, both of his eyes are watering daily. It doesn't look like pink eye, but could it just be his deficient diet? We don't know what happened to his mama, if he nursed or not and for how long.

Possibly he needs vaccines, but what at such a young age? What do you recommend? The only problems we see with him are the watery eyes. He's not as active as our steer was, but our steer took a bottle for a long time. Is there anything else we can be feeding him, or is this it? We can't even force a bottle on him, milk in a bucket, or anything. I know this is probably uncommon, but is it okay for him to eat this way so young?

Dan's response:

I would simply allow the calf to graze and continue to give it calf starter. He should be OK with the nutrients from that. Even at his young age he will eat mineral, so I would put mineral out in front of him free choice. As far as the eyes watering, if the eyeball itself looks normal, then it could be some other type of irritant. Sometimes young animals have abnormal eyelashes that are inverted and can cause problems. Check for that as well as the possibility that the eyelid may be turned in on itself rubbing then on the eyeball.

As far as vaccine, I would advocate going forward with a vaccination program. He will benefit; and with an unknown history, we don’t know if he received adequate colostrum (the early mother’s milk). My advice would be contact a local veterinarian and see what they recommend. The basic program would be a modified live vaccine for common viral pathogens and 7-way Blackleg vaccine. Disease risk in your situation should be minimal as it does not sound like they will be exposed to other cattle.

Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow-calf beef operations. Dan is also partner in Professional Beef Services, LLC, which offers herd consultation and helps in data management and marketing of beef cattle.

This column is part of the Beef Today Cattle Drive e-newsletter, which is delivered to subscribers biweekly and includes beef industry analysis, market information as well as the latest beef headline news. Click here to subscribe.



Response to Weighing in on Antibiotic Issue

Sep 01, 2009

By Dan Goehl, DVM

Follow this link to access the original blog: Time to Weigh-In on Antibiotic Issue.

Dr. Goehl. You are simply incorrect there is no evidence that reducing antibiotic use will impact resistance. When Quebec voluntarily stopped injecting ceftiofur (a cephalosporin) into eggs, there was a rather marked and immediate reduction in resistant Salmonella heidelberg in both chickens and in the human population. This is just one recent example. there are many more. See, a Canadian public health agency publication.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 6:12 PM
by: David Wallinga, MD

Dr. Wallinga,

As I have a background in the beef industry it took a few days to respond, but I did take time to research the information you forwarded. As in most things it is easy to find information to support bias and it is then up to us to determine if we feel that information is adequately researched and stands up to scientific evaluation. I was speaking about PAMTA related issues.  (Click here to access industry letter on antibiotics). 

PAMTA specifically addresses sub-therapeutic uses not antimicrobials used for therapeutic purposes. The in ovo or day of age use of ceftiofur in poultry is therapy........albiet mass therapy but therapy nevertheless.

It should be noted the U.S. has shown strong reductions in food borne diseases since 1997. The Salmonella food safety picture is so good in fact in the U.S. that Dr. Pat McDermott who runs the retail arm of NARMS has said that FDA will cease monitoring surveillance for Salmonella sps. in ground beef and pork chops (revealed at AVMA this July in Seattle) because of the extremely low incidences found. The retail arm of NARMS is considered the food safety sentinel or early warning system in the US. 

While there is some data which can connect the cause/effect dots for "outbreaks" of food borne disease, these are most commonly related to temperature abused product handling, undercooking, post processing recontamination or "C" all of the above. Some of the greatest health outbreaks in recent years have been tracked to vegetables. In a related instance there is no evidence that enrofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter has declined in either poultry or humans since the withdrawal of enrofloxacin from the poultry marketplace in 2005. 

Also, following the ban of antimicrobials in swine feed in Denmark, illness has gone up and the use of therapeutics has increased. Unfortunately, as you know food is not and will never be sterile. It should go without saying that American agriculture produces the most abundant and safest supply of food in the history of the world without which millions of people would go hungry. They should be applauded.

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