It’s not too early to think about spring deworming options.  Being prepared for the upcoming parasite season can set your operation up for long-term success.  Dr. Dan Cummings, a professional services veterinarian with Boehringer-Ingelheim, said there are several things producers need to consider when choosing a deworming product.


“I think working with a veterinarian is paramount. They need to have a relationship with that veterinarian that knows what the parasite challenges are going to be on their individual operation so that they can tailor their program and their deworming strategies toward what their challenges are. Some other thoughts are timing and where we are in the system within their productive lifestyle or lifespan, if you will, of the operation and what's going on there," Cummings noted.  "So, if I'm sending cattle out to pasture, there should be a consideration for an extended-release dewormer that offers up to 150 days of parasite control because most grazing seasons are typically 150 days, maybe more, depending on rainfall, moisture, forage height, etc. But controlling parasites for that length of a period can become quite beneficial for an operation and unfortunately, most conventional dewormers only offer protection anywhere from two maybe out to 40-or-so days depending on the product. The veterinarian will be able to help answer those questions and determine what product fits the best for their system.”


Cummings said extended duration dewormers offer significant benefits.


“We sometimes will see some hesitation in choosing a product that’s extended-release simply because producers may not look at that as a long-term investment and so they may be a little bit hesitant about investment in that type of product," Cummings said.  "But what we found is there are significant payoffs: cattle will better utilize forage and other resources so ultimately those calves that are going to grass in that situation with an extended-release product, we're controlling parasites, and we're going to see improved weight gain. When we look at extended-release products and controlling parasites for up to 150 days, we don't have to bring those cattle back in from pasture for additional deworming to control parasites. And then, of course, for the cattle. They don’t have the added stress of reapplication and additional processing events. We've seen some improvement in reproductive efficiency in replacement heifers with extended-release products.”


So, what are the best practices for administering an injectable dewormer?


“Follow the BQA guidelines: they're there for a reason. The roadmap to how to use a product is the product label, So read that label, make sure you're administering with the correct dose, correct route of administration, and based on the correct weight of the animal. Is that weight accurate that you're treating, so we don't want to under-dose or overdose, so make sure we get that dose accurate according to the weight. And most of these products are going to have a label indication to be administered subcutaneously, so under the skin. Make sure you choose the right needle size and length for that. Another one, especially as things heat up a little bit as far as the weather goes, is make sure we're storing those products properly and according to the label in the right storage container.”


Cummings added producers can take steps to make sure they are getting the most out of their dewormer.


“Sound nutrition of your herd improves overall immunity and improves response to a lot of these products that we use, so make sure you're working closely with your veterinarian, nutritionist, extension agent, and whoever that may be to make sure your nutrition is dialed-in. Diagnostic testing. I think we can use diagnostics to monitor the efficacy of these products and make sure they're working properly. Good management practices, especially when we're grazing cattle. We need to limit over-grazing; we need to make sure our stocking density is appropriate as far as units per acre so that we maximize our forage. If we start to over-graze, we increase the transmission of parasites, and these products may not work as well as we want. Pay attention to that forage height, rotate pastures if possible, and just practice good management.”


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