Cattle Health

Herd health and individual cattle health is important when raising cattle, because a producer needs to know what to do and how to treat a bovine that is sick or injured. There are many diseases and health concerns in the field of raising cattle, and they can be asked and answered here. Be sure to always consult your local licensed large animal veterinarian with concerns about your animals. Your vet is your best source of information.

1,160 Questions

Are clay pigeons harmful to cattle?

Yes, they blend in extremely well with the grass and earth. Cattle that try consume them often will choke on them if they are swallowed, especially if the "bird" is small enough.

How do you treat wounds on a cows udder?

Bag Balm, that can be purchased at any store that sells farming supplies,

What causes a cow to prolapse?

It depends on what they have prolapsed, since there are three types of prolapses: rectal, uterine, and vaginal.

If it is a female that has a uterine prolapse this can be a result of a birthing complication, and may be due to a chemical imbalance that is telling her to continue pushing, or because of stress on the birthing canal. This can also be true for a vaginal prolapse.

Rectal prolapses can result from either constipation or diarrhea that the cow is constantly trying to push out.. This also can be a result of a high amount of stress, for example if the cow is down and cannot get back up she may put pressure on the rectum until it prolapses.

Can antibiotics treat mad cow disease?

Hmm. Good question. I believe the answer is no. Mad cow disease is not cause by bacteria, but by prions. Prions cannot be treated with antibiotics because they are proteins, not living cells. My knowledge of this is limited, If anyone has more information on this, please add it!

Comment: My understanding checks with yours. By the time bovine spongioform encephalitis (mad cow disease) manifests itself, it is already beyond any form of treatment.

When do you vaccinate cattle?

Usually in the spring prior to turning out on pasture, some vaccinations are to be given when calves are born, while some are to be given when they are yearlings. Most calves are vaccinated a few weeks prior to being weaned or at weaning time. Calves should be vaccinated for Blackleg (Clostridium 8- or 9-way), BRD, IBR, PI3, and BRSV.

Cows, on the other hand, are vaccinated only if there's a history of a certain disease in your herd or area. IBR-BVD is one vaccine that should be administered to cows no matter where you are or what your herd health history is.

Contact your veterinarian for a proper vaccination schedule for your cattle. Vaccination schedules depends on what type of cattle you are raising, their age, diet, your area, and (for cow-calf herds) reproductive stages.

How do you treat warts in cattle?

It is best to have your veterinarian come and remove them when you first notice them. The vet will cut them off and spray them will an antibacterial spray. If you leave them too long they can continue to grow and the vet may have to freeze the wart in order to remove it.

What are the treatments for coughing in cattle?

Treat the disease, not the symptoms. As such, there are several things that may cause coughing in cattle, some less serious than others:

1. Pneumonia

2. Shipping Fever

3. Lungworms

4. Choking on a piece of hay or grain that went down the wrong pipe

5. Consuming dusty or moldy feed

For pneumonia/shipping fever (collectively called BRD or Bovine Respiratory Disease), coughing is mainly the initial signs of the onset of BRD. Typical symptoms of BRD include runny, snotty noses, laying down when they're not chewing cud, acting lethargic, standing away from the herd or nor engaging in the herd's activities. Flourofenicol drugs like Resflor, Nuflor, Draxxin, Excel RTU, Borgal, Micotil, or Excenel can be used to treat BRD in your cattle. Be sure to follow the right dosage on the box and instruction paper before use, as dosage depends on the type (young, mature, lactating or dry) and weight (in 100's of pounds) of your cattle. But before that, it's best to choose which drug you think will be more effective according to the type of cattle you have. For instance, if you have feeder/stocker calves you may have more than one bacterial species giving them pneumonia, so Nuflor, Resflor, Draxxin or Borgal might be more effective than, say, Micotil. But if you have lactating cows, you will have to choose a safer drug to use that doesn't affect milk production or milk quality (if being used and sold for human consumption) as much; Excel RTU might be your better choice than the other drugs. Also note the withdrawal periods of each drug if you are wanting to butcher your cattle or use your dairy cows for milk, as there's nothing worse than health concerns for antibiotic traces in meat or milk! Your local veterinarian will have information on what is best to use on which cattle.

Lungworms are a serious parasite to deal with, so treatment with drugs that deal with these parasites that are found and sold in your area by your vet is the best way to go. Some of these include Cylence, Ivomec, Ivermectin, etc.

If you have an animal that is coughing or choking on a piece of hay or grain, it will be okay. Just let it cough it out, but keep an eye on it just the same in case you may need to intervene and get the vet out to help the animal out.

Dusty feed is not healthy for any livestock. Sometimes dusty feed has mold in it which can cause pneumonia in your cattle if they breathe it in (which is a very high chance they will). Pouring molasses or simply not using it (which is probably not a good idea since you will have to buy some more feed somewhere else, but something you'll have to consider anyway if you're really concerned about your animals' health) is one of two things you can do to prevent any more coughing from dusty feeds.

Why would a yearling cow die?

There are many different reasons that a yearling calf could die. Or any cow. !) It was born with a defect that finally killed it. 2) It could have contracted a illness that could have killed it.3) A predator could have killed it, the kind of predator would depend on the area the calf lived in. 4) It could have been killed by humans for food. 5) It could have fell and broke something, neck-instant death, leg-person could shoot to relive it's pain. The list could go on and on as long as someone can thing of something.

Can anthrax infected cow's milk transmitted anthrax to human body?

No. Anthrax bacteria is killed through the process of pasteurization. Milk would not be drunk either from a cow that has died of anthrax.

Is mastitis contagious in cattle?

NO, it is NOT contagious. Mastitis is not a disease that is spread around by direct or indirect contact. It's an infection of the udder that is caused by bacteria entering the teat canal into the cavity of one or more quarters of the udder, or by injury when a full udder is bumped and bruised excessively. It cannot be spread from cow to cow like other illnesses can. Mastitis is not caused by a pathogen that spreads through contact from other cows or through other vectors like flies, airborne, or feed equipment. That is why cows with mastitis are not quarantined, because it is not necessary to quarantine them, particularly milk cows. Beef cows may need to be quarantined to have their infected quarter(s) milked out twice a day, but it is not because the illness is contagious.

What are the characteristics of a healthy cow?

She is bright and alert, in good body condition, producing health quantities of milk (if she's lactating), eating well, defecating and urinating normally, her hair coat is shiny, etc.

What weed causes cattle to go blind?

Euphorbia species are one type of weed that will do this. You may also be referring to jimson weed. This weed contains the active ingredient atropine, a muscarinic antagonist. In high doses, atropine will cause hot, dry skin, urine retention, dry mouth, increased heart rate, capillary dilation (and therefore flushing of the skin), and blurry vision in humans. If cattle did eat it, there is a good chance that they could lose their vision as well.

How can you tell if the cows are healthy?

They will be alert, eyes will have a shine as well as their coats, healthy cattle will have a good appetite and regular cud chewing.

What if cow can't regurgitate its cud?

Cows don't "regurgitate" their cud, they burp or belch it up. Since most of the feed they initially eat was eaten in a hurry, belching up a mass of partially digested food to chew it into smaller pieces helps in proper digestion and utilization of nutrients and minerals that is contained in the feed. Burping helps aleviate gases that are always building up in the rumen when microbes in the rumen release gases as they digest the feed. If these gases cannot be released, bloating ensues and if not treated immediately, the cow will die. A cow that cannot belch up her cud will certainly not last long; a cow that cannot belch up her cud is essentially a cow that either has bloat or her rumen has stopped contracting and either cases must be treated by a veterinarian or have the animal put down.

Most of the cases that involves the rumen not contracting involves having the cow put down since a rumen that is not contracting either means the nerves responsible for ruminal contractions are damaged far beyond repair or the animal itself is too far gone to be helped.

Bloat, if not too far gone, can be treated by having the animal walk or run it off if the case is mild, by tubing it with a plastic tube put down its esophagus and draining detergent or mineral oil into the rumen, or for more severe cases, use of a trocar to quickly expell the gases directly from the rumen by piercing the rumen wall. The latter is more of a last resort to aleviate bloat, as using a trocar has risk of the rumen wall developing infection if not cleaned and sewn back up after all excess gases have been released. The prefered methods of treating bloat is chasing the animal or tubing it, or better yet, preventative methods such as feeding a bloat-prevention block of mineral, letting your cows graze high protein-quality feeds when they are not hungry, having roughage available for the cows to eat as a way to help digestion, etc.

All cows or ruminants a like should be able to belch up their cud in order to have a healthy digestion system and gastro-intestinal tract. If not, then they will die if not treated right away.

What problem can foot and mouth disease cause?

Foot and Mouth Disease causes vesicles (kind of like very nasty blisters) on the muzzle, tongue, teats and skin above the hooves of animals. It affects any and every cloven-hooved mammal (from cattle to pigs to sheep and even deer, bison and antelope). It is VERY infectious, but it is rarely fatal (it usually only kills young animals). However though the disease is rarely fatal, it is a disease that spreads very rapidly and can only be contained by quarantining the animals and humanely euthanizing all animals that are affected, are carriers, or that have been exposed to the virus and are not showing symptoms yet.

The disease is caused by a picornavirus which is spread via contact with other animals and through the air (an airborne virus). The virus being airborne is how many livestock in Great Britain got infected with FMD so quickly, since most farms were close in proximity with each other and the winds could easily spread the virus from one farm to another.

FMD causes animals to reduce feed intake, decrease in fertility and milk production, and reduces growth rates in young stock. Even if an animal recovers from the FMD virus, they are still potential carriers and tend to not be as productive as they were before they were severely infected with this virus. Most animals need to be humanely slaughtered, burned and buried to kill and contain this horrendous disease.

There is a vaccine available for livestock with FMD, but it's reliability is pretty much worthless, to say the least, since the vaccine is made for only one common species of virus, and not for the other subspecies of viruses that are associated with causing this disease.

FMD is not to be confused with the human-form of Foot, Hand and Mouth Disease. FMD is not zoonotic, so it cannot be transferred from animal to human and vice versa. Rather FHMD is an altogether-different disease that affects humans only.

Usually how long does a cow have mastitis?

Mastitis will keep getting worse if it goes untreated, if you begin to treat in the early stage the cow will have mastitis for about a week. It will take longer to treat mastitis as it progresses.

What is a normal respiration rate of a cat?

According to Dr Tammy Shearer in "Emergency First Aid for Your Cat", normal respiratory rate is 24 to 28 breaths per minute. NOrmal temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and normal pulse/heart rate is 110 to 140 beats per minute.

What is timber tongue in cattle?

It's another word for Wooden Tongue, which is a disease in cattle where the tongue gets swollen and hard, so much that the animal won't be able to eat properly.

Are carrot tops poisonous to cattle?

YES, carrot tops do contain toxins!!

It is unlikely your animal will be poisoned by feeding them a small amount of carrot top, however, if your animal has been eating any other alkaloid based plants such as "dog fennel" they could become sick and die from alkaloid poisoning!

We received a sick baby goat from someone who had no real food in their field, only dog fennel and mint. The goat was thin, drooling and had diarrhea. He had alkaloid poisoning from eating dog fennel!! Poor things throat was so sore it could hardly swallow and we had to force feed it. He was doing fine for a week, eating lots of leaves, drinking and putting on a little weight. At our farm we had very small amounts in from of the barn and he would go right for the smelly weed though none of our goats eat it at all. We pulled every drop we could find within his reach. I puled some carrots out of the garden and mom offered them to the goats who turned their noses up at them, all of them except the baby goat. Within hours he was in distress again with the same symptoms. I searched the internet and discovered carrot tops can cause alkaloid poisoning, just like dog fennel!! Poor goat died, within 24 hours of eating the carrot tops, from alkaloid poisoning.

So, YES, carrot tops can be poisonous to goats and cows!!

What diseases do cattle carry?

Cattle may carry the organisms that cause anthrax, European tick-borne encephalitis, rabies, tapeworm, Salmonella infections and many bacterial and viral diseases.

What are the incomplete viruses called that have been linked to certain diseases such as scrapie and mad cow?

Mad Cow Disease and Scrapie are NOT caused by incomplete viruses or any virus of any sort. They are caused by PRIONS, which are misfolded proteins much tinier than any virus, complete or not. If such disease were caused by viruses they would easily be cured by an antibiotic, but since they are not caused by bacteria or a virus, such vaccines cannot be made because there is nothing for such a vaccine to target.

Do 2 year old heifers drool when losing teeth?

They may. Excessive saliva production could be a symptom of something else though, something that is a bit more serious than a heifer loosing baby teeth.