We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the joys and tribulations of horse ownership, but in addition to horses, many small farms raise cattle and other livestock. These “hobby” or “lifestyle” farms are growing across the US.
For hobby farmers, summer months can bring a much-needed reminder of the joys of farming. Months of layering on clothing, breaking ice in water buckets, and trudging through knee-high snow banks are blissfully behind us as we roll out of bed and throw on a pair of shorts and barn shoes to do morning chores.
Although a welcome change, the summer months bring their own challenges, especially in the form of insects and the diseases they may bring to your herd. Insect-borne disease in livestock is a serious problem for farmers, as cattle are susceptible to a wide variety of insect-borne diseases, many of which are fatal – and all of which are inconvenient to both cattle and farmer.
For cattle owners, there are a handful of diseases and their transmitters to look out for in your herd.
In addition to having a nasty bite, Horse and Deer Flies have been implicated in transmitting yellow fever (anaplasmosis) to cattle. This condition is accompanied by a high fever, irregular movements, and weight loss and is fatal in 50% of known cases.
Gnats (including Black Flies of the family Simuliidae) can transmit vesicular stomatitis, a virus sometimes called Indiana fever , which is represented by ulcers around the mouth and udders in cattle. Most affected cattle recover from this condition, but it can have an impact on meat quality and milk production. Black flies can also cause the death of calves through the spread of simuliotoxicosis.
House Flies While relatively harmless compared to their more nefarious relatives, the horse fly and the deer fly, house flies can bring a variety of enteric pathogens to cattle. Enteric diseases affect the gastrointestinal system and are accompanied by copious amounts of diarrhea—an unpleasant experience for both animal and human—and can lead to dehydration and death.
In nearly every case, an animal plagued by pests or infected by an insect-borne disease will demonstrate a change in productivity, whether reflected in a loss of weight in beef cattle or milk production in dairy cattle. The best defense against insect-borne diseases in cattle is prevention; implementing an effective pest control program can stop the spread.
Livestock spray is an important component of any pest control program, and can help prevent insect-borne disease in livestock. At Absorbine®, we recommend Flys-X® Ready To Use Insecticide, perfect for use on cattle.
Flys-X® kills horn flies, house flies, face flies, mosquitos, gnats and blood-sucking lice. It also kills fleas and brown ticks on dogs – and will kill fleas and brown ticks when used as a premise spray.
Flys-X® is water-based, so it doesn’t have a greasy residue. The botanical insecticide is approved for use on cattle, so it is a great solution for the small-scale farmer. It is also approved for use on horses, ponies, foals, and dogs – providing an affordable solution for hobby farmers who have more than one type of animal. Flys-X® Ready To Use Insecticide will be available in farms stores and tack shops in August 2013.
- Detailed information regarding diseases by carrier insect can be found at http://livestockvetento.tamu.edu/.
- For more information about anaplasmosis, visit http://cattletoday.info/anaplasmosis.htm.
- For more information about vesicular stomatitis, visit http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/DiseaseInfo/disease.php?name=vesicular-stomatitis.
- For more information about black flies and simuliotoxicosis, visit http://www.phrygane.info/black-flies/v.html.
- For more information on enteric diseases in cattle, visit http://www.uwyo.edu/vetsci/courses/patb_4110/2009_lectures/9_diarrhea_cattle/html/class_notes.htm.