Whats new in large animal medicine?

New Calf Feeding Guidelines

The National Farm Animal Care Council has released their 2009 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle. In this publication the recommendation for feeding calves is being updated. The new recommendation is to feed whole milk at the rate of 20% of body weight per day (or the milk replacer equivalent) for the first 28 days of life.
For calves weighing 40-50 kg (90-110lbs) this means feeding 8-10 liters (quarts) per day. For years it has been accepted practice to feed about half this volume.
This is a big change that will likely require some changes in feeding practices beyond changing the volume fed (eg. Feeding 3-4 times per day rather than twice daily will help to reduce the digestive disturbances seen). Dr. Neil Anderson of OMAFRA reports that he has recieved testimonials of improved health and growth in calves from early adopters of the 20% feeding guideline in the June, 2009 issue of Ceptor Animal Health News.
The Code of Practice document is available at www.nfacc.ca.

Grants for Equipment and Training

Funding is available from the federal and provincial government through OMAFRA’S Food Safety and Traceability Iniative (FSTI) to cover 75% of the applicants cost (to a maximum of $20,000) for livestock producers to implement a food safety program. This money can be used to purchase equipment or obtain training that would be applicable to this program. Examples of purchases that may qualify include:
-scales and handling chutes (to aid in accurate weighing and dosing)
-feed milling systems (to improve medication accuracy)
-refrigerators (to improve medication storage)
-pressure washers (to improve sanitation)
-pasteurizers (to control pathogens in milk fed calves)

As you can see there is a philosophy behind the rationale for granting this money. There is also a process to follow to satisfy the people granting the money that this philosophy is understood. To see the full details of this program go to,

Click Here: Guide to the Uniform Disposition of Compromised Cull Cattle

Click here for a glossary of Conditions and Judgements

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Publishes Antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines

The CVMA recently released this publication to give guidance to veterinarians and animal owners in the use of antimicrobials; with the objective of reducing the risk for development of resistance to these compounds. Generally the concept of antimicrobial resistance is based on the premise that when a population of bacteria are exposed to antimicrobials the susceptible bacteria are killed and the resistant ones are left behind. This applies selective pressure for resistant bacteria. The strength of this pressure depends on how often and how widespread the exposure to these antimicrobials is in the global population of bacteria. The guidelines give a number of pieces of useful advice and you may wish to discuss them with a veterinarian. One piece of information which seems useful for all of us to bear in mind is the categorization of antimicrobials based upon their importance to human medicine.

Category 1: Very High Importance (preferred option for treating serious infections with few alternatives)

Category 2: High Importance (preferred option for treating serious infections with several alternatives)

Category 3: Medium Importance (not a preferred option for treatment of serious infections)

Category 4: Low Importance (little use in treating serious infections)

Where possible it would be advisable to use an antimicrobial in the highest category number possible to avoid selecting for resistance to the most important antimicrobials. The following lists the common veterinary antibiotics in their respective categories.

Category 1:

ceftiofur (Excenel and Spectromast)
danofloxacin (A-180)
enrofloxacin (Baytril)
penicillin/streptomycin/novobiocin/polymyxinB/cortisone (Special Formula)


tulathromycin (Draxxin)
tilmicosin (Micotil)
trimethoprim- sulfadoxine
cephapirin (Cefa – Lak or Cefa Dri)
pirlimycin (Pirsue)


florfenicol (Nuflor)

Category 4:

Funding for Johne`s Testing

The Ontario Johne`s Disease Industry Working Group has made funding available for testing of cattle with a milk or blood ELISA test. Funding for testing is conditional upon the entire milking herd being tested and upon the culling of cows testing 1.0 or higher on the ELISA test. The program is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, 2009.
The program is designed to provide education and management assistance with Johne`s disease. For more information please contact Dr. Honeywood, Dr. Warder or go to www.johnes.ca. In addition the following people are responsible for the administration of the program.

Ontario Johne’s Program Co-Ordinator: Nicole Perkins: [email protected] (226)979-1664.

Ontario Johne’s Program Chair: DR. Anne Godkin: [email protected] (519)846-3409.

Information Resource on BVD

The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University has put together an excellent website for anyone who is struggling to understand BVD and its implications for their cattle. It is: www.bvdinfo.org. This group has drawn upon contributions from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants to provide accurate information about BVD and debunk many myths that apparently just will not die the death they so richly deserve. There are concise outlines of strategies for cow calf and stocker/feeder operations that can give you a sound basis to understand the strategies behind BVD control. In addition to this there are in depth articles available on the site for anyone who wants to explore the background information.

Horse Travel Advisory

Effective Nov. 20th, 2009 the CFIA has placed additional requirements on horses entering Canada that have been in the states of Texas and New Mexico due to a “Piroplasmosis” outbreak that is occurring there.
The restrictions are as follows:

1. The horse must not have been on or adjoining a premise where piroplasmosis has occurred during the 60 days prior to entry to Canada.

2. During the 15 days prior to entry into Canada the horse must test negative for piroplasmosis on a c ELISA test, as well as be inspected by a veterinarian and inspected for ticks.

3. For horses entering Canada from elsewhere in the USA, CFIA is requiring that these animals have not been in the state of Texas during the previous 21 days. This refers to travelling through Texas as well.

If you have any questions please contact our clinic or the local CFIA office can be reached at (705)739-0008.

Update on Ontario Johne`s Program

As of April 1 the testing portion of the Johne`s Program had completed 92 herds (6,264 cows). Only 40 of these cows tested positive (0.6 % of cows) and 8 (0.12% of cows) of these have been the high titre cows that are required to be removed for the test subsidy to be paid.
The good news is that the overall prevalence of Johne`s in Ontario is looking fairly low based on the early numbers. However, it is also important to note that the 40 positive cows are in 11 herds and 5 of these herds have 8 of the high titre cows. This reflects a very spotty distribution of this disease. Herds where the disease has gained entry seem to be herds where the disease has gained a strong foot hold affecting multiple animals.
It is early in the program but this is an interesting trend and reflects the value in a good biosecurity program to reduce the risk of Johne`s entering your herd. This can be discussed when you complete your RAMP later this year.

Increase in Algae Caused Mastitis in Ontario

An algae known has Prototheca sp. has been recognized as a rare cause of mastitis in dairy cattle for years. However, since 2007 Animal Health Lab`s tracking data show a fairly steady increase in Prototheca positive milk samples from 5 per month in 2007 to 15 per month in 2009. The distribution seems fairly uniform throughout the year but there are spikes in numbers in the fall to early winter each year. Most Prototheca mastitis will change the milk but only mildly in many cases and as the mastitis progresses the milk production tends to decrease and ultimately stop. This is an organism that likes water and can also be found in soil and manure. What is less clear is its ability to be spread from cow to cow with milking equipment but until proven otherwise it seems prudent to milk these cows last or on a separate milker for cows with mastitis.
There are no anti-algae treatments available and the self cure rate for these cows is extremely low. Therefore infected quarters are lost to milk production most of the time and this may mean either milking a cow with less than 4 quarters or culling the cow. Prevention involves the standard sanitation practices for environmental mastitis control.

Staph. aureus Mastitis and Cow Hocks

A recent survey of Swedish dairy cows has shown a link between cows having Staph. aureus mastitis and the presence of this bacteria on cow`s skin. Hocks were the most common site for positive Staph. cultures and this was particularly likely when the hock skin was damaged at least enough for the hair to be lost. It is likely that these skin sites act as a reservoir for the bacteria as it has been long recognized as a common skin bacteria. In addition the genetic strains isolated at these sites were the same as those causing udder infections in the same herds. This in turn seemed to be linked to an increased likelihood of finding Staph on environmental surfaces, such as bedding, around the cows and presents opportunity for udder exposure.
These findings highlight some important steps in dealing with Staph aureus mastitis.
1. Segregate infected and uninfected cows.
2. Cow comfort is important for many reasons. In this case the provision of a low abrasion sufficiently soft bedding surface is important for controlling hock injury (rubber mats alone are not enough)
3. Frequent bedding turnover is important in reducing Staph bacteria numbers in the environment.

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