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Posted: 03/14/2023

Spring Deworming for Cattle

Spring is the season of rebirth. Much like green buds are popping up in the garden, parasite populations are peaking in your pastures. It’s why deworming is that springtime chore we know all too well, and it’s an important one. Parasites like worms, mites, lice, flies and grubs can affect cattle in non-obvious ways that eventually turn into production losses. While you can’t see the impact directly, you’ll feel it financially with decreased milk production, lower conception rates and more. Let’s talk about how and when spring deworming for cattle makes the most sense.

Group of healthy dairy calves

The Best Time of Year to Deworm Cattle

The timing and frequency of deworming will depend on the type of cattle and what kind of parasites they encounter. Treat mature cows once a year (spring or fall) and do it prior to calving. Timing is important because the calving process is stressful for the cow and it can suppress her immune system. Bulls need dewormed in both the spring and fall because they’re more susceptible to parasites.

Spring is an opportune time to deworm calves, too, because you’re also vaccinating them. Use your time in the chute wisely, and administer vaccinations and deworming at the same time. By getting ahead of the game deworming spring calves early on, you can increase weaning weights – and profits – come fall.

At What Age Should a Calf be Dewormed?

Many producers will begin deworming their spring calves around 3-4 months of age. They also get dewormed again at weaning, and may need additional treatments until 1 year of age (this can depend on your climate and level of parasites). Nursing calves are more susceptible to parasites than older cows. Because of this high risk of internal worms, it’s really critical to time deworming appropriately. Again, consult with your veterinarian for specific direction tailored to your calves and herd.

Beware of Parasite Resistance

Parasite prevention programs are not as simple as pick a product and give it to the animals. Worm populations can become chemically-resistant if the same product (or active ingredient) gets used over and over again. That’s why producers often rotate dewormers to reduce the risk of resistance. Talk to your veterinarian for suggestions on adjusting your product rotation so it targets the right parasites for your herd. They will likely want to know if you’ve used fecal egg count reduction testing to check the effectiveness of past deworming efforts, and how you manage your pasture, among other things.

Reliable Deworming Products

There are many terrific dewormers on the market, and we highlighted some of our customer favorites in an article last fall. Here are a few others you can consider for your deworming rotation this spring.

  • Medicated Dewormer Beef Cattle Block: try this molasses block to remove and control lungworms, stomach worms and intestinal worms.
  • Medicated Dewormer Beef Cattle Feed: it’s the only dewormer available in a free-choice mineral form, which takes the guesswork out of deworming. It reduces gaps in deworming for consistent protection against a variety of worms.
  • Injection: use this product to help protect your cattle against gastrointestinal roundworms, lungworms, grubs, sucking lice and mange mites.
  • Pour-On Dewormer: this alternate application method provides a wide margin of safety with minimal animal stress. It also delivers up to 28 days of horn fly control.
  • Drench: this product offers the broadest parasite control in the oral drench dewormer category, covering 25 different parasites and larval stages.

Compare Cattle Dewormers

The PBS Animal Health Cattle Dewormer Comparison Chart helps producers like you quickly compare active ingredients that target key parasites, in application method categories, for various types of cattle. We also list withdrawal details for each item and everything is linked to the page for easy ordering. We hope this gives you a broad picture of what all is available and can help you find the best product(s) for your operation.

Spring Deworming Made Easier with PBS Animal Health

Whether you drench, inject or supplement feed, be sure you plan to deworm your cattle – and especially your calves – this spring. Also, remember to visit our Calving Center for lots of insights for before and after calving, including post-calving supplies and ongoing calf health information.

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