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Showing posts with label cattle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cattle. Show all posts

Saturday, February 2, 2019

AGRIBUSINESS: Effects of hot weather on heat detection and breeding.

AGRIBUSINESS: Effects of hot weather on heat detection and breeding.While good weather can be of huge benefit for farmers, it can also be a roadblock if it hangs around for too long or is too intense. It can make heat detection and breeding more difficult in myriad ways. Heat stress can affect or hamper hormone production in cattle which can lead to cows or heifers not displaying signs of heat. This is known as silent heats, or subestrus. Specifically, heat stress can cause an increase in cortisol secretion which has been reported to block estradiol and reduce estrus behavior. Bull fertility Heat stress also affects the breeding performance of bulls. While hot weather in general can affect bull fertility (bull testes must be 2-6°C cooler than core body temperature for fertile sperm to be produced) heat stress can be detrimental to semen quality, testicular volume, sexual behavior. This in turn affects conception rates, fertility rates and bull fitness. One thing to bear in mind is that younger bulls are more susceptible to elevated air temperatures. READ: Heat Detection and Timing of Insemination for Cattle. FODDER/ FEED. If your cow isn’t getting enough green grass, this means they might not be getting enough minerals such as phosphorus, or trace elements like copper and cobalt, which all help promote the cow having a strong estrus. Cattle can also suffer from a Vitamin A deficiency after a long drought due to the cow not getting enough beta carotene (which cows convert to Vitamin A) which is usually rich in green grass. These deficiencies can be an issue during drought periods, or during winter, when grass isn’t as green. Drought can compound vitamin A deficiency because plants go dormant early in the year and it’s a long time before animals eat green grass again. Heat Stress In hot climates, or in years where there is abnormally high temperatures, cows can end up miscarrying due to heat stress. In one case, reported , German farmer Phillip Ellerbrock found a 40-45 day old embryo behind a cow.This was after a prolonged period of 35C temperatures. Not only did this happen, but fields of grass and grain were dried up and burned by the sun. There are a number of ways you can prevent and alleviate Heat Stress and its effects on your herd. If they are out on pasture, ensure that they have an area of shade where they can stay cool if they need to. In some hot countries farmers dig cooling ponds.If they are in housing, make sure you have a cooling system to keep the air temperature down.


AGRIBUSINESS: BREEDING SOUNDNESS. How long can I keep a bull, and at what age can a young bull start mating cows? Puberty in bulls occurs when they can produce viable sperm. This happens at approximately 12 months of age, though it can vary in individual bulls several months before or after this age depending on biological type (primarily frame size and potential mature weight), nutrition, and health status. Most bulls have reached puberty when scrotal circumference measures approximately 26 cm. A generally accepted guideline is to purchase/use only yearling bulls that have a minimum 32-cm scrotal circumference. Bulls can remain in service until they are 10 or 12 years of age. However, this is not the norm and usually remain in the herd for 4 to 5 years. Many do not last nearly that long due to hoof problems, structural problems, fertility issues, or injuries. Read: The management factors affecting fertility. Profitability for the cow-calf producer starts with high pregnancy rates and a high percentage of the calves being conceived early in the breeding season. A critical component of reproductive success is having sound, highly fertile bulls. This requires bull(s) that can detect cows in estrus, successfully mount and deliver viable, normal sperm into the reproductive tract of the cow. A proven method to determine the breeding potential of bulls is the Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE) system developed by the Society for Theriogenology. The Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE) is a relatively quick and economic procedure that can be performed by your veterinarian. It is recommended that all bulls be checked annually, within 60 days of the start of the breeding season. The BSE system is a screening procedure that places bulls into categories of satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or deferred.

AGRIBUSINESS: Factors that affect bull fertility.

AGRIBUSINESS: Factors that affect bull fertility.When it comes to bulls, fertility is of upmost importance as their job is to secure the future of your herd. 1)Body Condition Your bull should have a Body Condition Score (BCS) of 3 or more before being turned out to the cows. As bulls can lose hundreds of pounds of weight during the breeding season it is a bad idea to have them in bad condition at the start of breeding season. This will likely compromise herd fertility and reduce the reproduction rate. Dramatic weight loss leads to lower sperm quality and production. However you need to watch out for overweight bulls too because they can become lazy. READ: Fertility of cows and bulls. 2) Weather Heat stress can have a detrimental effect on sperm motility in Bulls. It also affects fertility in cows. Excessive cold can affect bull fertility too, especially in cases of frostbite. Scrotal frostbite can affect fertility. Usually the way to spot this is inflammation and swelling days after freezing. This inflammation generates heat which affects development of the bull’s sperm and could temporarily - or permanently - sterilize the bull. 3) Disease and infection. Disease and parasite control in bulls is very important. Even if the disease doesn’t directly relate to fertility, it could affect his body condition. If the bull fails to maintain a good body score it could lead to reduced vigor. Infections like foot rot can display itself with a fever. Fever is harmful to a bull’s performance, as the sperm that were forming whilst he was suffering from it will be abnormal, and afterwards, he will have an infertile period of about 60 days. Disease prevention should be treated the same in a bull as with females. New animals should be screened by a vet for possible infectious agents, and only buy bulls from a reputable source with a healthy herd plan. Here are three rules you should follow to avoid disease in cattle. Don’t expose cows to bulls from other herds or vice versa. No leasing or borrowing bulls No grazing in common lands with other herds, good solid fences to keep neighbors out. Bovine Trichomoniasis - This is a venereal disease which leads to repeat breeders, low pregnancy rates and abortions beginning in early pregnancy and continuing right up to the time of calving. There is no treatment for Trichomoniasis, although most cows will self-clear of the disease within 120 days. Bulls spread the disease between cows and any bull found carrying it must be culled. Because of this you should test your bulls annually. 4) Injury Lameness. If a bull is lame he won’t be able to stand up to his task. If he is partly lame his performance will be impaired.


AGRIBUSINESS: LIVER FLUKE IN CATTLE. A liver fluke is a parasitic worm that commonly live off of cattle, sheep and other livestock.Cattle can pick them up while out at pasture, and if not treated can drastically affect their performance, and cause liver damage. The disease they cause is called fascioliasis. Cattle typically develop chronic disease and classically show loss of weight, condition and become anaemic. Liver fluke-related disease can become acute and even fatal.However, if the offending liver flukes mature into adult egg-laying parasites, it can lead to severe liver damage depending on the number. Cattle infected with liver fluke are considered to be more susceptible to other infections,that is why it is so important to deal with liver fluke early. HOW TO DEAL WITH LIVER FLUKE 1: IDENTIFY RISK If you are aware of high risk areas for liver fluke, then deal with them as soon as possible. Fence off wet areas, attend to leaky troughs and pipes, drainage or housing early.If you have lost any sheep, investigate this, as this can be an early indication of fluke risk for your cattle. 2: TREAT APPROPRIATELY Cattle cannot pick up liver fluke when they are housed, however if they are not, it has the potential to put their growth rates well below market weight. Correct treatment means using the right product, at the right time, using the correct dose rate and administering it the right way. Never underdose your cattle for liver fluke, and do not assume that one size fits all when you’re measuring doses. Base your measurement off your heaviest animal for a group of cattle. Do not overdose your cattle either as this can encourace resistance to liver fluke treatments. If you have a large variation in weights, group them to ensure an accurate dose rate. If the treatment comes in the form of an injection, ensure it goes under the skin and not into the muscle. 3: AVOID RESISTANCE Over-reliance or overdosing on a flukicide can lead to drug resistance growing in liver fluke.It is important that you have an effective plan for cattle that reduces the risk of resistance spreading. Treatment: Among the products that kill liver flukes are Ivomec® Plus (Merial); Valbazen® (Pfizer) and Noromectin® PLUS (Norbrook),triclobendazole, nitroxynil 34% and 3 Levanor plus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

'Green'-feed: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs, chicken.

'Green'-feed: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs, chicken. Deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and nitrogen pollution . Today's agricultural feed cultivation for cattle, pigs and chicken comes with tremendous impacts for the environment and climate. Cultivating feed in industrial facilities instead of on croplands might help to alleviate the critical implications in the agricultural food supply chain. Protein-rich microbes, produced in large-scale industrial facilities, are likely to increasingly replace traditional crop-based feed. A new study now published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology for the first time estimates the economic and environmental potential of feeding microbial protein to pigs, cattle and chicken on a global scale. The researchers find that by replacing only 2 percent of livestock feed by protein-rich microbes, more than 5 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and global nitrogen losses could each be decreased.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Vaccination increases family wealth, girls' education.

Vaccination increases family wealth, girls' education.A Washington State University-led research team found households in rural Africa that vaccinate their cattle for East Coast fever increased their income and spent the additional money on food and education. Researchers also found that when fewer cattle died from the fever, girls were more likely to attend secondary school. "When households vaccinate, it increases their wealth and income and sets them on a trajectory to provide education for their children," said lead author Tom Marsh, professor in WSU's School of Economic Sciences and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. "Vaccinating is a way for households to pull themselves out of poverty.

Cattle may spread leptospirosis in Africa.

A study has shown that cattle may spread leptospirosis in Africa. The bacterial infection leptospirosis is increasingly recognized as an important cause of fever in Africa. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have analyzed the major risk factors for contracting leptospirosis and discovered that rice and cattle farming are associated with acute infection. Leptospirosis, caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira, causes a wide range of symptoms and can lead to serious complications include kidney and liver problems. In one study conducted in northern Tanzania, 8.8% of people with severe fevers had leptospirosis. Scientists know that animals can carry leptospirosis and lead to its spread throughout the environment or directly to humans. However, the major animal reservoirs and modes of transmission have not been well described. Rice farming, cleaning cattle waste, feeding cattle and farm work were all positively associated with acute leptospirosis. Smallholder farming -- which may be associated with substantial exposure to both livestock and rodents -- as well as frequent sightings of rodents in one's kitchen or food store -- was associated with seropositivity. see

Friday, July 6, 2018

How Nagana or Animal Trypanosomiasis is carried by tsetse flies .

How Nagana or Animal Trypanosomiasis is carried by tsetse flies . Researchers at the University of Bristol have revealed new details on how the animal disease Nagana is spread by tsetse flies in Africa. When animals are bitten by bloodsucking tsetse flies, they don't just get a painful bite, as the flies may be carrying a cargo of deadly microbes, trypanosomes. These microbes are squirted into the skin of the animal as the fly feeds and invade the bloodstream, causing the severe and sometimes fatal disease Nagana or African Animal Trypanosomiasis. Most livestock are susceptible to this disease including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses. Tsetse flies pick up the microbes when they take blood from an infected animal. The blood is digested inside the gut of the fly, but the trypanosomes need to find their way back to the mouthparts so that they can be passed on to the next animal the fly bites.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sensor value and viability for dairy cows.

Sensor value and viability for dairy cows. Biosensors and their use in animal health management is an emerging market gaining much attention around the world. But the efficacy can vary and farmers are sometimes hesitant to actually buy the sensors.
Sensors used to detect oestrus, lameness, disease and calving are being touted as the next big thing in dairy production. It is not known, however, if these sensor systems actually improve the health and production of dairy herds.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

VETERINARY MEDICINE: How to prevent heat stress in cattle.

VETERINARY MEDICINE: How to prevent heat stress in cattle. Cattlemen need to be aware of the risk based on weather forecasts of heat stress and engage steps to prevent it. Cattle producers can determine the risk in cattle handling by referring to the Temperature Humidity Index, or heat index. It’s essential to understand the relationship between temperature and humidity. VETERINARY MEDICINE: How to prevent heat stress in cattle. Herdsmen should follow these guidelines in other to prevent heat stress along side using the table. 1) Cattle should only be moved short distances during hot weather. Strategic planning of pen movements can help reduce unnecessary movements and potential heat stress. 2) Move heavier cattle closer to loading facilities throughout the feeding period to minimize heat effects. When planning cattle handling and feeding facilities, cattle producers should consider airflow, shade and sprinkler systems for cooling livestock. 3)Handling cattle early in the morning before temperatures get too high is highly recommended. Handle cattle before 8 a.m. and never during daylight hours after 10 a.m. The animal's core temperature peaks about two hours after the environmental temperature peaks, and takes four to six hours to return to normal. Handling cattle in the early morning and evening will reduce the risk of heat stress. 4) When processing cattle during high-heat seasons, work with cattle in smaller groups to prevent them standing in holding areas much longer than 30 minutes. Cattle producers should use facilities that are shaded and have good airflow to help reduce the heat. A sprinkler system may help cool the area if the water droplet size is large. Never overcrowd working facilities. Work cattle slowly and use low-stress handling techniques. The use of the chart coupled with these recommendations will help prevent heat stress in cattle. There is a new device,an app that actually gives an alert /signal /indications of heat stress in cattle get it here

Friday, June 24, 2016


Areas where cattle graze usually harbor venomous snakes which means the chance for snakebite is ever-present. The after-effects in a snake-bitten cow, horse or dog knows can be fatal unless urgent steps are taken to prevent the effect of the toxic venom . Rattlesnake venom contains two types of toxins—myotoxins and hemotoxins—according to Ginger Elliott, a veterinarian from Guthrie, Texas, who has seen many snake-bitten animals. The myotoxins create rapid swelling, pain and bleeding at the bite site and muscle necrosis, while the hemotoxins damage blood vessels, destroying red blood cells and hindering blood clotting. The damage is often relative to the size of the animal. Small rodents are immobilized by the toxins and die quickly, enabling the snake to eat them. The toxins (and amounts of each) can differ in various bites, and have different effects on the body. “Some rattlesnake venom contains more muscle toxins. Sometimes we see more swelling and lymph issues and more spread of the toxin systemically. Our western diamondbacks have venom containing mostly myotoxins,” explains Elliott. “As a general rule, the prairie rattler has more hemotoxins and we see some swelling but perhaps less tissue destruction. When toxins enter the bloodstream and lymph tissues, they can spread systemically. But many types of venom have several toxic components and consequently there are some unusual cases,” she says. The higher up the leg, such as near armpit or groin, the worse it might be, says Jacques Fuselier, a veterinarian with the Whittington Veterinary Clinic, Abbeville, La. “The toxins can get into the bloodstream quicker. We worry about that with some bites, because there’s more risk for anaphylactic shock. The toxins may rupture red blood cells, which could lead to organ failure, starting with the kidneys,” he says. Try to keep the toxin isolated and minimize its spread this can be achieved if you can get the animal into a pen where it won’t be moving around. Decreasing activity can slow down spread of the toxin, just from decrease in blood flow. A big dose of rattlesnake venom presents risk of it getting systemic and causing organ failure after it gets into the bloodstream. Every animal responds differently to the toxins. The toxin is a foreign protein, so some individuals will have an allergic-type reaction. In some animals, the toxins spread rapidly within the body, and in others they won’t. It’s not common to have two cases that are identical. The toxins don’t have as much negative long-term effects on large animals like adult cattle but could have more serious consequences for a small animal or young calf, according to Rob Callan, head of livestock veterinary services at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University. The toxins can sometimes be more problem for horses, affecting the heart. Toxins may cause irregular rhythm, or damage the heart which can be fatal although this has not been reported in cattle. Tissue damage at the bite site may be severe enough to result in necrotic areas that slough away. “I don’t know why some bites have a tremendous amount of necrosis and others do not,” says Glennon Mays, a veterinarian with Texas A&M University. “I’ve read that all snakebites do not necessarily inject venom. In some cases maybe the snake is striking defensively, saying ‘leave me alone,’ and saving venom for killing prey,” he says. There is also the possibility that some bites might contain less venom if the snake had recently bitten and killed prey, temporarily depleting its venom supply. Then there’s the possibility that it’s not snakebite at all. Mays says that often a suspected snakebite turns out to be something else. Swelling on a lower leg, for instance, is more often due to foot rot or another infection rather than snakebite. Animal owners over the years have asked me to look at lumps on jaws, faces, necks and other body parts, swollen legs and feet, believing their animal has suffered snakebite. Snakebite wounds have a fairly typical appearance and often some bleeding. Signs vary, depending on the length of time transpired since the bite occurred, the environmental temperature, the amount [dose] of venom and other factors that might affect the appearance of the affected area,” he says. “Often a swelling that the owner is worried about turns out to be an abscess or seroma [collection of fluid] or reaction of body tissue, rather than snakebite. This is why it’s important to have a proper diagnosis and involve your veterinarian. “Most bites [in cattle] are on the lower legs, unless it’s a curious individual that approaches the snake to smell it. Contributed by Beef magazine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Trace Mineral Nutrition in the Cow.

Mineral nutrition is vital to overall cow performance. Without an appropriate balance of minerals, cows may not perform as expected or could exhibit detrimental effects. Minerals are divided into two groups based on the quantity of the mineral required by the cow: macro minerals and trace minerals (micro minerals). The macro minerals are required as a percent of the diet, while the trace minerals are required in ppm (parts per million). There are six trace minerals of significant importance in a cow’s diet. These are cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), iodine (I), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn). They each play important roles in the body and can have negative impacts if they are deficient or in excess. 1) Cobalt The requirement for Co is 0.10 ppm and is typically adequate in summer range and many silages, but can be deficient in low-quality forage (e.g., winter range, crop residue). Cobalt deficiency is characterized by depressed appetite, listlessness, decreased growth, reduced milk production and a rough hair coat. Cobalt is necessary for the rumen microbes to produce vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is used by the rumen microbes in metabolic processes to produce propionate, which is a volatile fatty acid that provides energy to the cow. The cow does not readily absorb Co, but the rumen microbes use it for vitamin B12 synthesis. 2) Copper and molydenum Copper plays many important roles in the cattle’s systems, including red-blood cell health, collagen development, reproduction, and immunity. Not only does Cu play important roles by itself, but the combination of Cu, S, and Mo creates several important enzymes involved in nucleotide and vitamin metabolism. The challenge is ensuring that the Cu:Mo ratio is correct and will not cause a negative interaction. This ratio needs to be between 2:1 and 4:1. The cow’s requirement for Mo is very small and frequently met by forages in grazing cattle. Depending on soil type, Cu availability may be reduced, specifically in alkaline soils. Multiple minerals besides Mo and S can also interact and decrease Cu availability. These include zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), selenium (Se) or phosphorus (P). The forage Cu level may be adequate, however secondary deficiencies can occur as a result of increased levels of the minerals listed above, which can tie up Cu and make it unavailable to the cow. Cattle with a Cu deficiency are characterized as having a lighter colored hair or faded hair coat, reduced conception rates, severe diarrhea, brittle bones and reduced immune response. 3) Iodine The requirement for I is very low (0.5 ppm), however deficiencies are more prevalent than toxicities . Iodine plays a key role in maintaining metabolic rate by producing the hormone thyroxin from the thyroid gland. If I levels are low, thyroxin production is reduced and results in lower metabolic rates, that has a snowball effect on decreasing milk production, weaning weights and overall herd health. Cows that are deficient in I while they are pregnant can have calves that are born blind, weak, hairless or stillborn. Another symptom of deficiency is goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. 4)Manganese Manganese plays an important role in growth and reproduction. The requirement for Mn in growing and finishing cattle is 20 ppm, while the requirement in pregnant and lactating cows is 40 ppm. Cattle have a high tolerance level for Mn, up to 1,000 ppm. However Mn interacts with other minerals so deficiency effects could be noticed at lower Mn levels. If Mn requirements are not met, the primary indicator will be reduced conception rates. Other indicators are poor growth rates, low birth weights and increased abortions 5)Zinc Zinc plays a role in immune response, enzyme systems and hoof health. The requirement is 30 ppm and forages, grains and proteins are all sources of Zn. Forages average 20 ppm Zn, grains are approximately 35 ppm Zn, and protein sources average between 60 to 70 ppm Zn. Therefore, if cattle are fed forage based diets, additional Zn supplementation may be necessary. Signs of Zn deficiency are reduced feed intake and weight gain, excessive salivation, rough hair coat and eventually swelling of the feet and legs. When it comes to supplementing trace minerals, providing a trace mineralized salt that contains Co, I, Cu, Mn and Zn is a good insurance policy for decreasing the occurrence of deficiencies. In certain situations, a trace mineralized salt will be adequate to alleviate mild deficiencies; however there are other situations when an additional mineral supplement will be necessary to overcome interactions or more extreme deficiencies. Mineral nutrition and balance is key to animal performance and productivity. Take some time to evaluate your mineral program and determine if your mineral supplement is meeting the cattle’s needs. It is often stated that mineral supplements are formulated for the region, but there can be huge variations in mineral content of forages from one side of your ranch to the other. It might be time to sample your forages and water to get a better understanding of what is available to your cows and what they need in the form of a custom-formulated supplement. The final article in this series will address reading the mineral tag and understanding bioavailability of the ingredients in mineral supplements. source; drovers..

Sunday, March 20, 2016

How animals can give you tuberculosis.

Cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis are spreading infections to humans by the following routes ;eating unpasteurized milk products form infected herds is a prime source of infection and Living and working in close proximity to infected animals also puts humans at risk. In 2014, an estimated 9.6 million people were infected by tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization. Potentially fatal -- 1.5 million died from it the same year -- it is a disease known to be spread from human to human. But a subset of those contracting the disease today are getting it from infected animals. Tuberculosis can spread through your food, as well as the air, via infected animals.The most common culprits are infected cattle and the most common source are their infected food products, such as milk and cheese. Cows and many other animals can harbor bovine tuberculosis (TB), a disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium bovis -- a close relative of the bacteria that cause human tuberculosis. Risk of human disease rises when animal infections aren't controlled. The existence of Bovine TB among animals and humans is not unique to the Americas. The disease is found globally, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia, and in a 2012 study by the International Livestock Research Institute, more than 7% of livestock screened globally tested positive for the disease. "[In India] people are very intimately associated with their cows ... we look after the cattle, men sleep in the area where cattle are tethered ... the proximity is very close," says Krishna Prasad Hanumanthappa from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Hanumanthappa has seen the presence of both regular and bovine TB cow milk in India. Here, however, he says ingestion is not the main concern."The practice of boiling milk has been one of the greatest safeguards we've had on transmission," says Hanumanthappa. He instead worries about the disease spreading through other means. Bacteria can be excreted through fecal matter, urine, coughs, and sneezes," he explains. In most countries in Africa, bovine TB is endemic, but experts say regular milk pasteurization and slaughterhouse meat inspections are rare. "We used to see a lot of cattle slaughtered with TB lesions in the lungs of the animals ... and locals eat these products," says Simeon Cadmus, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His recent study of a sample of livestock workers in Nigeria found 6-7% of traders and butchers to be infected with TB of some kind. Cadmeus also worries about people rearing cattle who live closely with their cows. "They eat, drink and stay all their lives with their cattle," says Cadmeus who adds that further studies of his among herds have found 40-60% of cattle infected. "Because of poor animal health issues ... the pastoralists also get infected," he says. Read more here;

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


This is usually diagnosed in dogs and sometimes cats in this part of the world, with particular reference to dogs running wild and biting people.The virus can affect other animals such as horses,foxes,skunks,bats and cattle,but the usual suspect is the dog. A bite from an infected wild animal, such as a fox or raccoon, is a common method of infection in cattle. In Europe, rabies in dogs is a growing concern,in Africa the threats come from Jackals and in Northern Europe, Wolves are a prime vector of the virus. The skunk is the most likely carrier that spreads the disease to domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses and cattle and those species then will show the clinical signs of rabies. The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of a positive animal, and when bitten by a positive animal is the primary way the virus is spread. However, other methods of spreading the disease are saliva from a positive animal getting into an open wound, or saliva from a positive animal getting into a mucus membrane – the eyes, gums or lips – of another animal or human.The time between infection and the onset of clinical signs varies. It can range from as early as a few weeks to as late as a few months after infection. Infected animals will start to carry the virus in their saliva before they start to show clinical signs, and this is why the rabies virus is different than most other viruses, because it does not enter the bloodstream but rather, the rabies virus travels through the nerves from the point of infection. If an animal is bitten on its back leg, the rabies virus will travel through the nerves of the back leg to the spinal cord, and then from the spinal cord, it will go to the brain and When this happens the clinical signs become obvious. An animal that is bitten on the nose, as it is believed most cattle are, will start showing clinical signs earlier than an animal bitten on the back leg. This is because the virus has less distance to travel to the brain and this accounts for the time variation between being infected and showing clinical signs.Once an animal shows clinical signs, typically within four to five days that animal will get progressively worse and die. There are effective rabies vaccinations available for humans, dogs, cats, horses and cattle. Veterinarians recommends that producers who show cattle consider vaccinating those cattle for rabies. If those show animals contract rabies, there is more of a chance of exposure to humans.While it isn’t always practical to vaccinate the whole cow herd, vaccination in prevalent areas are encouraged.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Drug-resistant genes spread through environment, not meat products.

New findings show that traffic from humans to animals, and back to humans via the environment,is responsible for resistant genes and as such a new focus on tackling antibiotic resistance is proposed. In the first study to track antibiotic resistance in intensively-farmed beef, scientists discovered a "startling" lack of resistance genes in meat. Meanwhile, in soil and faeces samples from cattle pens they found genes resistant to a powerful "last resort" class of antibiotics called carpabemens that aren't used in the livestock industry. These genes may have jumped from humans or companion animals to livestock, or could even be present at low levels in the wider environment. Results published in eLife suggest researchers and policy-makers need to switch focus to combat the growing problem of drug-resistant bugs. A current focus for policy-makers is to reduce antibiotic use in livestock to curb the spread of drug-resistant bugs. The team urges that traffic from humans to animals, and back to humans via the environment, should be a new focus for research. The lack of resistance genes in post-slaughter meat samples was a big surprise for the scientists, forcing them to rethink the view that it is only antibiotic use that increases resistance. Environmental routes of exposure are much harder to trace and have been largely overlooked by researchers and policy-makers. While many people never step foot on working farms, we are physically connected to agriculture via waste water run-off and wind borne particulates. The scientists suggest investigating wind patterns and water flow to see if, and how, resistant bacteria may be disseminated, and how far. The researchers opined that they may observe that such dissemination is very limited geographically, or we may find that resistant bacteria can travel long distances if they find the right currents or the right waterways. In either case, this would be very important information from a public health perspective. The researchers collected samples from 1,741 commercial cattle. The study started in feedlots, where intensively farmed cattle are moved after grazing. A feedlot consists of outdoor pens where cattle are fattened during their final months of life. Samples were also taken during slaughter and from market-ready products. No previous studies have tracked antimicrobial use and resistance right through the beef production process. The team found no resistance genes to any bacteria in market-ready beef products. They did discover changes to antibiotic resistance genes in the guts of cattle during their time in the feedlot. The changes could be due to the use of antibiotics in feedlots but could also result from adjusting to a high-energy diet or from the cattle's maturation from adolescent to adult.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Two Queensland scientists have been recruited as part of a global project to help develop a tick vaccine for the African cattle industry.The tick may be an enemy of the Australian beef industry, but the situation is even more dire in Africa.The research is part of a global project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to help the overseas cattle producers combat tick infestation. Researcher Alicja Lew-Tabor said ticks were having a significant impact on domestic beef production in Africa.Unlike Australian producers, African producers generally only supply their domestic market and Dr Lew-Tabor said ticks caused significant problems in meat and milk supply. "Most of the countries in Africa have cattle of sorts, whether it is for milk or beef production, and most of them would be in regions that are affected by cattle tick and the diseases that they carry," Dr Lew-Tabor said."Ticks are resistant to a lot of the drugs that they use to put on the cattle; they become resistant to them in time."That chemical resistance was the very reason why Dr Lew-Tabor and fellow researcher Manuel Rodriguez-Valle were selected to join the worldwide project. For five years, they have worked on the development of many vaccine strains which could have potential in Africa.They started with 300 possibilities and have selected 25 vaccines which could be successful in controlling the tick infestation.Dr Rodriguez-Valle said the work was tedious, but the results looked good."We have two candidates that look very interesting [and] we will have results very quickly, at the end of February; we are very confident in them," he said.To control the results, the cattle are kept isolated in pens.The goal is to try to reduce the number of ticks per animal by 70 per cent. We infect the animals with around 5,000 tick larvae and wait until the ticks drop off each animal, then we collect the tick, weigh it and analyse the reduction in the number of ticks," Dr Rodriguez-Valle said.The vaccines inject antigens into the cattle, creating antibodies to attack the ticks."We got 80 per cent protection in a trial that we did in Brazil but what they [Gates Foundation] has wanted us to do is pull that mixture apart and work out what the most active components are," Dr Lew-Tabor said.The vaccine is expected to be ready to use within five years, and Dr Lew-Tabor said there could be benefits for Australian beef producers too."They will be able to bring the more susceptible breeds into regions where they don't have those breeds," she said. source; ABC NEWS.

Friday, November 27, 2015


In a bid to ensure food security, China has gone the biotech way to provide beef for consumption.The world’s biggest animal “cloning factory” is due to open in China, producing one million calves a year, sniffer dogs and even genetic copies of the family pet. Interest in agricultural biotechnology has been rapidly increasing in China, where farmers are struggling to provide enough beef for the country’s growing middle classes. Prices of the meat are said to have tripled from 2000 to 2013. Mr Xu said his new facility will clone racehorses and a handful of dogs for people with “emotional ties” to their pets, but its main focus was producing cattle. However, he appeared to be more excited about its ability to churn out sniffer dogs. read more here;

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Bovine viral diarrhea that affected about 5,000 cattle of which 500 were destroyed in Germany,indicates a breech of bio security protocol as the cause of high incidence. Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) leads to severe disease and significant economic losses Caused by the Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV). Bovine Viral Diarrhea suppresses the immune system and causes a variety of symptoms, including respiratory problems, infertility, and abortion. "A dairy farmer first noticed a reduction in milk yield, respiratory symptoms, nasal discharge, fever, sporadic diarrhea and sudden deaths -- these symptoms were also noted on other farms as the infection spread, but did not immediately indicate BVD as the cause," said Dr. Jörn Gethmann, lead author of the study from Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute. "We were surprised by the high morbidity and mortality an induced by a BVDV strain in this outbreak." The researchers supported the competent local authorities in tracing the spread of the virus. They visited eight farms and obtained data on a further 13 farms. They discovered that the virus was not transmitted directly by infected cattle, but mostly by people such as vets and traders who were moving between farms. "We were surprised to see the effective transmission to other farms without persistently infected animals involved," commented Dr. Gethmann. Bio security is very important at all levels of production; a simple hand washing ,wearing protective clothing,tyre dips,foot baths and use of protective gloves will prevent spread of infectious agents. Read more here;