Making Cows Comfy Adds to Bottom Line

Cindy ZimmermanAnimal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim

Take note, animal activists – most dairy producers know that happy cows are more productive, so they do everything they can to make them comfortable.

BIVI logoDr. Brian Miller, professional service veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., says that includes managing and controlling ectoparasites like mange and lice.

“Even in dairy herds where cows do not have access to grass, a well thought out program is important to controlling external parasites and keeping cows comfortable and productive,” says Miller. “Chorioptes bovis, the parasite that causes chorioptic mange in dairy cattle, lives at the base of a cow’s hair and tends to be concentrated around the tail head, escutcheon, udder and thighs. These parasites are spread by direct contact, and because of close confinement, they spread very quickly and easily within a dairy herd.”

Miller offers a few tips to help control irritating mange mites and keep your dairy herd more profitable:
• Do not abandon deworming or parasite control programs in difficult economic times. Keeping animals healthy and comfortable also keeps them productive.
• Regardless of cold or warm weather climates, implement a whole herd deworming or parasite control program in the late fall.
• Remember to pour any new animals entering the herd on arrival, including dry cows, first calf heifers and newly purchased additions as an important element in the biosecurity program.
• Pouring first lactation cows is important for protecting them in the last 10-15% of their growth and maximizing the first lactation.