Cattle - Internal Parasite Control 


The main signs of worm infestation in cattle are diarrhea, emaciation, rough coat, swollen abdomen, and bottle jaw (swelling under the jaws). Worms cause heavy economic losses hence the need to control them. There are three main methods of controlling internal parasites in cattle, namely: 

Dosing 
Cattle should be dosed at stipulated intervals using a broad-spectrum dewormer. It is best to use a different type of worm remedy than the one used last time each time cattle are dewormed. The most important group of animals to be dewormed are young animals, animals being kept for fattening and pregnanat animals. A strategic dosing programme has been in use in the past whereby cattle are dosed twice a year – that is at the beginning of the dry season (when cattle are being fed on maize stover soon after harvesting) and at the onset of the first rains. However, cattle can be dosed when they are showing signs of worm infestation. Also, all new brought in animals should be dewormed before they are introduced to the rest of the herd.

Feeding animals properly 
Healthy, well-fed animals can fight off infections and can develop a good immunity against worms. 

Good pasture management to reduce build up of parasites 

Good pasture management involves the following: 

Avoid over-stocking as it causes the pasture to have large numbers of worm larvae on it if the animals grazing on it are suffering from worm infestations. When other animals graze on the same pasture they easily get infected. 

Practice rotational grazing as it allows the pasture to rest and most of the worm larvae die before they infect other cattle. 

Grazing different kinds of animals together on the same pasture. Worms are known to be species specific. For example, donkeys cannot be infected by worms that infect cattle. So when donkeys graze on the same pasture with cattle, the donkeys eat worm eggs and larvae that infect cattle without them becoming sick. In other words, the donkeys cleanse the pasture of worm eggs and larvae that could have otherwise have infected cattle. The opposite is also true. 

Graze different age groups of animals on different pastures. Young animals are more likely to get infection from older animals and are affected more severely than older animals. 

For liver flukes 
Fence off swampy areas to keep cattle away 
Use water from boreholes, wells, or from fast-moving rivers 
Some farmers keep ducks. These ducks eat snails which are the intermediate host of the immature liver flukes. 

Tick control 

Ticks cause the following problems to animals: they are transmitters of tick borne diseases, loss of blood, irritation and also animals become prone to other bacterial, fungal and other parasite infections. Hence the need to control them.
There are four main methods of tick control, which are: 

Plunge dipping 

It is the most commonly used dipping method where by an animal leaps into a dip tank resulting in total immersion of the said animal. It then swims through to exit ensuring thorough soaking of the body. 

Spray Race 

Animals are forced to walk though a passage in which jets of spray wash are sprayed over the entire body of the animal resulting in wetting of the body. It can be as effective as plunge dipping. 

Hand spraying 

Used in small herds where there are no other alternative dipping facilities. A nap sack is used. For this method to be effective, the animal has to be thoroughly wetted. 

Pour-on 

The dip chemical is applied from the poll of the head along the top line of the animal and up to the base of the tail. The chemical then spreads to cover the entire body. Pour-on acaricides are expensive and are mainly used in areas where water is scarce.

Tsetse fly control 

Tsetse flies are transmitters of trypanosomosis. In addition, animals are irritated by the painful bites of the flies and they also cause blood loss. The most commonly methods of tsetse fly control are the following: 

• Traps – attract and catch flies for surveillance. 
• Targets – attract and kill flies. At least four 
traps or targets are incorporated per every square kilometre to control tsetse flies. 
• Dipping - Acaricides with pyrethroids as the active ingredient are mainly used to control tsetse flies. 

Other ways of controlling the flies but are not as effective as the ones above are: 
• Bush clearing 
• Spraying the ground 
• Sterile male release technique 


 

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