Beef Cattle Deworming
Beef Cattle deworming is very important to get rid of the internal parasites in
beef cattle. Cattle are not only threatened by the outside pests like face flies, horn flies but also the internal
parasites like lungworms and gastrointestinal roundworms. Anthelmintics, or dewormers are used to control these
internal parasites. It is very important to detect the signs of infection by these parasites to prevent any major
losses to the herd.
Old cows are at less danger or they gradually
develop their immunity to fight these trouble making worms. They affect the health and performance of cattle.
Nursing calves have high risk of internal worms and it is vital to deworm them in time. Deworming at earlier stages
can result in improved weaning weights. It is best to deworm nursing calves at three months of age.
Parasites are very dangerous for the health of the animals. They can lead to reduced
immunity, reduced weight, unusual appearance and diseases like anemia. Some of the common parasites that attack
beef cattle are: Gastrointestinal roundworms like Ostertagia ostertagi, Cooperia oncophora, Haemonchus placei,
Trichostrongylus spp. and Strongyloides papillosus; Lungworms like Dictyocaulus viviparous; Eyeworms like Thelazia
spp.; Grubs like Hypoderma bovis; Sucking Lice like Haematopinus eurysternus and Linognathus vituli; Mange Mites
like Psoroptes bovis and Sarcoptes scabiei. Calf need to be dewormed at weaning and mature herd need to be dewormed
twice a year, usually after rains.
Because of the costs of beef cattle deworming involved it is important to understand
when is deworming required and when not. Cattle usually get infected with parasites from the pastures they graze.
Larvae of these worms live and thrive in the pastures and reach cattle when they ingest this grass. For example
larvae of gastro-intestinal hairworms must reach grass tips to be eaten by the cows. The grass has to be wet,
either due to rain or dew, and the soil temperatures has to be above 55 degrees for the larvae to reach the grass
blades. Larvae cannot swim to the grass blades when grasses are dry. Pastures get free from any worms when sun
dries them up for some weeks, so there is no danger of worm infestation at this time and consequently no need for
deworming. Deworming is only needed if cattle have been grazing wet grass for considerable time that might have
been contaminated with larvae. Deworming in time is very effective for the cattle health but cost effectiveness of
this program is also a cause of concern and must be planned well.