May is a transition month as we move from the variable weather of Spring to the warm early Summer weather by the end of the month. For the health of our animals going into Summer there are some things to consider.
PARASITES: Internal parasites produce more eggs as the spring progresses. Before turnout onto pasture, it is beneficial to control parasite load. I am seeing issues with the commercial wormers such as Ivomec, Eprinex, Cydectin, and Panacur/Safeguard with resistance development. Administering these just before turnout simply seeds the pasture with resistant worm eggs. Using a natural wormer such as Dr Paul’s Clean Start pellets provides an overall suppression of parasite loads without creating and selecting for resistant parasites. These palatable pellets work in cattle, sheep, goats and pigs and are dosed at the rate of 4 oz per 150# body weight. On our farm we use them once a month during the grazing season for our sheep and goat flock.
SEA-90 SALT: Trace minerals are essential for most of the enzymes that are essential for cells and organs to function at their most efficient level. Our soils are mostly devoid of these traces and therefore our feeds are lacking as well. Our supplements include the basic traces like copper, zinc, selenium, manganese and cobalt but they do not include the dozens of traces that are required in smaller quantities. The best source of traces I have found is the Sea-90 Sea salt. This product is produced by the evaporation by sun and wind of ocean water trapped in large tide pools.
The traces contained in the resulting salt are in a soluble state or as part of the vast array of microbes found in the ocean. As a result the traces are very available to the animal (or human) during the digestive process. Compared to other sea salts on the market the trace mineral levels are much higher in the Sea-90. My experience has been that when initially fed the consumption will be high but drops off to half when trace mineral levels are replenished in the animal. Overall health and vitality go up when trace mineral deficiencies are corrected.
Sea-90 is available through us. We have it in stock and can be picked up, delivered or shipped. It is safe to use in all classes of livestock. Also it is available in a 1# bag for human use, going by the name Baja Gold.
PINKEYE: Even though pinkeye doesn’t show up until mid-summer this is the time to start control measures. For good eye health, Vitamin A and iodine levels need to be adequate in addition to the full spectrum of the other trace minerals. In lush growing pastures, Vitamin A levels are well supplied through the beta-carotene. This level drops dramatically during the heat of the summer when the cool season grasses go dormant. During this time, a Vitamin AD&E supplement is beneficial.
Vaccinations can be beneficial. Commercially produced vaccinations are made with single or multiple strains of Moraxella bovin, which is the causative bacteria. Protection is reduced if the vaccine strain doesn’t match your field strain. Also, most vaccines will only achieve a 70-80% protection rate and must be administered early in the season, such as May in our northern tier of states.
Another way to confer immunity is through the use of nosodes, which are the homeopathic equivalent of a vaccine. These are small sugar pills that can be administered orally or through water. In my experience, results with this method exceed any of the multitude of vaccines I have used on our operation or in our practice. These also can be used in the face of an outbreak.
Fly control is important in reducing eye irritation and transmission between animals. There are a multitude of ways to achieve this but the one I want to mention for this early in the season is the feeding of kelp and sea salt, such as the Sea-90 mentioned earlier. Both Sea-90 and Redmond salt come in a formula that includes garlic. The garlic serves as a deterrent to flies as well as providing compounds that reduce bacterial colonization on the eye. Watch for future newsletters/ blogs that will address treatment options.
OUR PRACTICE: I am available for on-farm calls as well as consultation services. We work with beef and dairy herds, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry deer as well as vaccinations for dogs and cats. I can provide alternative, natural or organic therapy protocols for all species. We provide a full range of conventional and organic animal health products that can be delivered, picked up at our drug room or shipped.
NOTE: By FDA requirements we must have a valid VCPR(Veterinarian/Client/Patient Relationship) to dispense prescription drugs or write VFD’s(Veterinary Feed Directives). To accomplish this we must physically visit your farm at least once a year. This allows us to document in our records familiarity with your farm and animals. If we are doing routine or emergency work on your farm this is covered. Otherwise we can schedule a time to do a farm visit to meet that requirement. This FDA requirement is not needed for non-prescription, organic or basic animal health products such as vaccines, fluids, vitamins, boluses, probiotics, electrolytes, Impro and supplements. As part of our service to our clients I am available to answer animal health and product questions.