Planning for parasite protection should be top of mind for cow/calf producers before branding and spring turnout each year. Parasites can leave a path of destruction on any herd, but controlling them is as simple as knowing a few key tips.
1. Read and understand the label
To help achieve the best possible results from deworming products, it is important to be aware of the label indications for the product being used.
“When deworming time rolls around, it is extremely important to read the label every time to ensure you are dosing correctly, reducing the risk for side effects and not creating resistance,” said Gary Sides, PhD, Zoetis Cattle Technical Services. “Not giving cattle the full, labeled dose provides parasites the opportunity to become resistant and prevents cattle from reaching their performance potential.”
Dr. Sides also encourages a close look at the approved label indications for use in young calves. Some dewormers are not approved for calves less than three months of age or if raised on intensive pasture rotation systems.
“Dewormers must be used according to the label directions. That includes administering the product only on animals for which it is approved and not using it on calves unless the label says it is an approved use,” Dr. Sides noted. “It’s important to protect calves from parasites while they are on pasture this summer so choose a dewormer that is approved for use in young calves. When they are not battling parasites, calves are healthier and put their energy toward growth.”
2. Injectable vs. Pour-on
Depending on geographic location, choosing an injectable or pour-on product can differ because of different weather conditions as well as the types of parasites in the area. Dr. Sides recommends treating cattle with DECTOMAX 1% Injectable in the spring and DECTOMAX Pour-On in the fall. For producers in the Gulf States and Oregon, Washington and California, treatment recommendations are reversed to accommodate for different parasite control needs. They should treat cattle with a pour-on product in the spring, then an injectable product in the fall.
“Injectables really do the best job on internal parasites, but lice control is better with pour-ons,” Dr. Sides explained. “I tend to be more concerned with internal parasites since they can do the most to slow down growth, feed intake and feed efficiency.”
3. Store and handle products carefully
Storage and handling also can influence product efficacy. Most products list the appropriate temperature range for storage on the product packaging or label. Be sure to follow label indications closely to ensure that producers are getting the most bang for their buck.