(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. Dr. Dan here. Sure glad you joined us today, we’re going to have a great show, we’re going to talk about things that you can do to the calves at the time of branding. We’ve got Dr. Nora Schrag here as our guest, she’s a great wealth of information, it’s going to be a great show, but we really appreciate you joining us.
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(Dan) Dr. Schrag welcome to the show. (Dr. Nora Schrag) Thank you. (Dan) Folks Dr. Nora Schrag. She’s a veterinarian here at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and has a world of experience in bovine veterinary practice, mixed animal practice. We’re lucky to have her here at K-State and lucky to have her on the show today. We’re going to talk about branding and things to do at the time of branding which we’re coming up on and so I like the way you’ve set this up. Ready, set, go. Explain that a little bit. (Nora) I just think there’s three phases. This time of year we’re excited to get cattle out on grass, it’s a great time of year, it’s exciting but we have to get ready before we just run them through the chute and turn them out. One of the best ways to get ready is to make sure that your cows are nutritionally in the right place. If your cows are in the right place then your calves are in the right place and then they can respond to that vaccine that you’re going to give them and all the other things you’re going to do to them. (Dan) What are some of the things we’re thinking about as far as nutritional status or things within that nutritional realm, that you’re trying to get them ready? (Nora) Sure. One of the main things is to make sure you have a mineral program that’s good, that’s going to help you breed back. It’s going to help your immune status of those calves, and cows, for that matter and so if you’re going to give a vaccine, you want their immune system to respond to it. Keeping track, making sure your feeding minerals at the rate you’re supposed to, is a good way to do it and then another opportunity that we have that sometimes is easy to forget about is, if you have a dystocia and you have a dead calf, that’s unfortunate but that actually is an opportunity to test the liver, and an easy one. You can cut that liver out and put it in the freezer, this is one sample that we can go ahead and freeze, so it makes it easy and then you can either just hold on to that for a while and wait and then if you have a problem some time later you have samples collected already and you don’t have to wait for more calves to die or you can just submit them as you as you get them and then you just have a running status of, “hey, our herds mineral status is good or maybe we should test a few more and see where we’re really at.” (Dan) It’s really a good and work with your local practitioner, they can get you set up with submission of samples or they’ll probably submit them for you and say– (Nora) Yes and that’s probably best– (Dan) “Hey, here’s what we’re going to do.” (Nora) It’s probably the best to just have your veterinarian submit them, but there’s only a few labs that do that particular test so it’s good if they send it in for you. (Dan) Right. Because then even if they come to our lab, it might not stay at our lab, we might use Michigan State or somebody else to run those minerals but great points– (Nora) Absolutely. (Dan) Well, I hadn’t thought of. That’s pretty handy. What else are we thinking about? (Nora) The other thing that really helps those calves out is getting colostrum and I know we always talk about this, but it’s true. The other thing to think about is, we can do the colostrum replacer, if you have one that doesn’t get enough, but there’s also– If they get natural colostrum, they’re getting some cells from the cow, that there’s no replacer out there that has cells in it. Even if you can just get a little bit from the cow, go ahead and add some replacer to it if you think they didn’t get enough but even a few little droplets from a cow makes a difference. (Dan) Well, depending on the cow. (Nora) It does. (Nora) That’s true. (Dan) I may just go buy some, but and then you had parasites. (Nora) Yes, we always need to keep control of our parasite load. If we have cattle that has too high of a worm load, when we vaccinate them, they’re not going to respond well, their immune system is working on the worms and there’s not really a lot left to do anything with the vaccine. (Dan) Cool. Folks we’re going to take break. We’ve got Dr. Nora Schrag here. You’re watching DocTalk, thanks for joining us; more after these messages.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Nora Schrag and we are veterinarians, we’re here at Kansas State University. Dr. Schrag is a veterinary practitioner that has plenty of experience in working with cattle, different situations. We’ve set this up today to talk about branding. Ready, set, go. We’re ready. Now we got to get set. (Nora) Yes. Now’s the time to focus on our plan and it really helps to plan ahead of time, spring is a really crazy time of year in a veterinary practice and so if you’ve got kids coming home on the weekend to help and it’s Friday and you walk into the practice and say, “Hey Doc, I need all my shots.” There might be five things going on in the back, and there’s not really enough time to make sure you’re getting what you need. One thing is go in with enough time and when you’re not in a hurry to have time to explain what happened last year, were you happy with your vaccine program, how many did you treat, do you have any problems you might want to cover. (Dan) Yes. You want to discuss what the disease pressure was and what are some things you battled last year, whether it’s scours or abortions, open cows, different things to that nature. (Nora) Yes and one thing that always helps me is, some people might say, “Oh, I treated a lot last year,” and it helps if you can give me even just a general idea of numbers, I don’t need exact, but ‘a lot’ to one person might be five out of 50 and ‘a lot’ to somebody else might be 40 out of 50 and so for me trying to decide what we need to change or if we need to change anything, that’s a big difference. (Dan) It always amazed me, producers are outstanding in keeping track of death loss, it’s the morbidity. How many do you treat? If you could get that piece of information added to death loss it helps us so much as practitioners to help you understand the relative disease pressure in your herd relative to others in the region and might say, “Well that’s not really a problem” or “That’s a red flag,” and so you got to keep track of that. (Nora) Then another thing about getting set is making sure our facilities are ready to go. (Dan) Please. (Nora) Do we need to fix the gate before we start this today? It just makes everything go so much smoother if you’ve had a little chance to walk through that and make sure that nothing – that gate that was broken last year got fixed. (Dan) Other than gates and things that are important for human safety, I think that making sure that no metal is sticking out in the working facility that’s going to gouge cattle and cause lameness. (Nora) Yes, absolutely. (Dan) Things like that, it’s just something – If you aren’t using it every day, you got to do a walk-through. (Nora) Another thing along those lines as I would say, be honest with your veterinarian when you’re discussing things, if in your facility it’s nearly impossible to give an oral wormer, I hope it’s not, but I’ve been on some places where that’s dangerous sometimes, then just let them know that and maybe there’s another option. (Dan) Right. Age of calves, does that make a difference in–? (Nora) Absolutely. If some of these calves are going to be only a week old when they get worked, that’s a real different scenario than if all of them are going to be 60 days, that type of thing. (Dan) Okay and so will have different protocols, different vaccines, different abilities to booster that immune response. What age are you looking at for branding? (Nora) Well, it’d be nice if they were all at least 30 days old from a vaccine response standpoint. We’ll get some response and we’re actually learning a little bit about that, it’s not that we get zero response when they’re really young, but their immune system isn’t quite ready to respond fully to that vaccine. It’s always a balance of reality and we’re always going to be stuck with some calves that are a little younger than we want them to be. (Dan) Part of that is due to the colostrum, the maternal antibody– (Nora) Right, so sometimes our vaccine decision might depend on age because if they’ve gotten good colostrum, they might not respond to that vaccine simply because the colostrum is protecting them, not only from a disease but from the vaccine and that’s not a bad thing, but that is something that we consider when we’re developing our protocols. (Dan) Well, we’re ready, we’re set, when we come back we got two more sessions here with Dr. Schrag and we’ll be ready to go. Thanks for watching DocTalk, more after these messages.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan here with Dr. Nora Schrag; she’s a veterinarian here in the central part of Kansas. We’re thankful to have her here, wealth of information when it comes to bovine practice, been a part of our Veterinary Health Center, part of our Department of Clinical Sciences, Department of Diagnostic Medicine and a great teacher and a great veterinarian. We’re ready, we’re set and now the fun part begins. (Nora) Yes. (Dan) We’re going to start dragging and running… (Nora) Roping and dragging, taking out syringes. (Dan) Let’s start out and talk about some of the products we are going to use. (Nora) Sure. I think when it comes to calves, there’s two core vaccines or at least groups of vaccines that we think about, and one of them is for respiratory disease and we usually call that a five-way respiratory, most of them are five-way respirators. It’s going to protect us against viral diseases, so BVD and that’s Type one and Type two. We actually get two with BVD that we’re going to get IVR, PI3, and BRSB and those are all viruses that participate in causing respiratory disease in cattle. That’s one of the main ones that we’d like to get into them. Then another main one is what we typically call a blackleg, or a seven-way vaccine and I found there’s a lot of confusion about this one. A typical seven-way has actually six strains in it. (Dan) That’s one of my favorite questions to ask students. (Nora) I’m told that it used to have a seventh, and that’s why it’s like that. Really it has six strains of a bacteria in it. They’re all related bacteria, but there’s six of them in there. The thing to know is a typical seven-way does not have tetanus in it. That’s a real confusing deal but just realize that just because you gave a seven-way doesn’t mean you gave a tetanus vaccine. (Dan) That’s usually the eight-way or the Tetanus vaccine. (Nora) There’s a smaller one that’s called CDT that might also be a tetanus, and some of you might be using that on real young baby calves if you’ve had some death loss and real young ones and they’ll respond pretty nicely to that early on. (Dan) If you’re in to band cattle… (Nora) They have to have tetanus. (Dan) …given the tetanus toxoid. (Nora) Yes. Also with the eight-way, it depends on where you’re from. Whether that has tetanus in it or whether it has another strain called Hemolyticum. Make sure it says tetanus on the bottle if you want a tetanus in there. We have those cores so we have a respiratory and a blackleg. Then after that, the choices are all based on what your disease pressure is and what you’ve worked out with your veterinarian. Some common non cores, but in some situations are important, it would be Pasteurella. What we call Pasteurella, which is a bacteria that, causes respiratory disease. What we might call somnus, which can cause respiratory or reproductive disease or pink eye is another common one. All those choices really it’s important that you work with your veterinarian to figure out what’s important for you in your situation. (Dan) Well, I think the core are especially if you have calves out on pasture; the blackleg vaccinations, the respiratory disease from viral pathogens and those respiratory pathogens can be reproductive. (Nora) Yes absolutely. (Dan) If those calves get it, your cows, if you have them running together which they will be, they can cause some problems with breeding and conception. It’s the same shot as your breeding shots for your cows. Some of those bacterium on those calves at that time are probably something you really need to work with your veterinarian. (Nora) Right. Some of those when we’re talking about killed vaccines, some of those can make that calf feel pretty sick. That’s where it’s really important to work with your veterinarian if you get too many of those stacked together, you can actually make those calves pretty sick and they’re not going to respond as well to anything that you gave them. (Dan) Right. Waiting until they’re up 60 days 30, 60, 90 days. Of Age making sure that you get core vaccines. Work with your veterinarian on the others. There has been a mixed bag on the discussion on the efficacy of pink eye vaccines a split camp. You really need to talk with your veterinarian. He will know what’s been going on in your area and be able to make that recommendation. Anything else on vaccines? (Nora) Well, maybe another important point is there is a difference between killed, and modified live. That’s always a question, that’s another place to work with your veterinarian. If you use the wrong one, you can get yourself in trouble reproductively with your cows. There’s also real different immune response. We can talk about that a little more if you want to. (Dan) Yes. Well, I think the big thing is, there’s just as big as split camp on killed versus modified live with veterinarians as there is with the efficacy of some of our bacteriums. The big thing is, get the five way modified live or the five way viral and the black leg in those calves. Great, all right we’re going to take a break. When we come back we’ll talk about some of the procedures you’re going to do at branding.
(Dan) Hey, folks welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Nora Schrag. Thank you for watching DocTalk; thanks for the time that you all spend. I love the e-mails you all are sending, the questions, the comments. When I see you in the airport or things like that, at meetings that we go to, it’s just awesome to say hello and get to know each other. We are going to have to do some work on the set, and we’re going to start putting your caps or coffee mugs up here. If you want to have your ranch or veterinary clinic hat or something on the show you can send it here to our address below, and I’ll get those, and we’ll start showing off some of who’s watching. (Nora) That’s a neat idea. (Dan) It will be fun. All right, we have the calf stretched out. What are some of the management procedures that we’re going look at during the time of branding? (Nora) I think it’s always important to remember that anything like castration or dehorning is easier on the calf and easier on the person, the younger they are so that’s one time when the younger is better. If we’ve got an option to do that let’s not wait until is 500 pound in the fall. Let’s get it done right now. (Dan) There’s no added growth benefit for leaving those calves intact. Matter of fact the longer you wait the worst health issues ensue. The lighter they are, the better. (Nora) Yes. Then this is a time depending on whether you’re going to keep females as replacements or you’re growing bulls, you need to have that discussion with your veterinarian. It is a time when you could use a calf implant and get a few more dollars back in the right situation. Again make sure you discuss that, make sure your plans for keeping reproductive animals that doesn’t interfere with that. (Dan) You never implant a bull calf that you’re going to keep as a bull, and if you know you’re going to keep them as a heifer we don’t recommend that you implant them but if you haven’t made up that mind at the time of branding a low potency implant will not affect reproduction. There’s just no reason to do it if you know you’re going to keep them as cows. But work with your vet. (Nora) Yes absolutely. Absolutely. (Dan) Other things that you’re going to do you may be fly tags. (Nora) We may be fly tagging, and that really depends on the time of year. Right now is a little early to fly tag. Those tags are not going to last long enough to really get into the thick of the fly season. It would be an option and if you’re working your calves later in the year that might be a good thing. They say that if you’ve got the number of flies that fits in the palm of your hand that’s enough flies to make an economic impact on a cow. Fly control really does matter. (Dan) That’s one of those things that we struggle with every year because we brand those calves, a couple of months or four months before flies are really causing these issues. We have seen in some research here at K-State, that properly applied fly tags can make a huge difference in performance, probably more than the castration. (Nora) Yes probably is but so along with that goes timing of some other things like dewormer, ideal timing is not really what works for us, so it would be ideal to de-worm these about six weeks after they go on the pasture. That’s not probably how we’re going to do it. Again that’s something to work out with your veterinarian. Maybe you’re going to pick a product that has a little bit longer duration of action to compensate for not., not being able to go out there and give it at six weeks after you’re on pasture. (Dan) Cool, other things like branding, DNA test are a possibility. (Nora) I would say that this is your chance. You’ve got your hands on this calf so if you’re going to do a DNA test now is a good time to grab a sample. If there’s any lameness or any eye issues if there’s anything that needs treated, it’s worth taking a couple of moments and a lot of time is the best time to see that is before we’re in the chute, before we’re rolling. Just walk through those calves really well pick that up right at the beginning so you can take care of it before you turn them out. (Dan) Well. Thanks for everything, Thanks for being on the show. (Nora) Thanks. (Dan) Thanks for watching DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Be sure to work with your local veterinarian and if you want to find out more about us you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. Thanks for watching today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.
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