Watch: Maggots on calves - more hardship for farmers from the drought

Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

The extremely dry weather during the summer has tested farmers in many ways, including bringing new animal health problems to the farm.

With the recent dry weather, maggots on cattle have become an issue for many farmers. One case in particular was an incidence of maggots on a weanling’s back, spotted on Jennie Aherne’s suckler farm in east Limerick.

According to Jennie, there was never a case like it on her farm before this. The maggots were across the back of one of her simmental calves on her farm in Towerhill.

Vet Gerard McGovern from Derryginney veterinary Clinic in Co Cavan, said that maggots found on cattle have become more of an issue this year, grossly attributed to the recent dry weather.

“Dry weather and a lot of flies equals maggots,” the Ballyconnell vet explained adding that “even in the last two weeks I have seen a couple of cases of maggots and a lot of flies around.”

Gerard recently came across such a case where the flies had laid their eggs in a calf’s navel.

“Flies like to lay their eggs on an open flesh or blood-stained area, hence all the maggots,” explained Gerard.

For prevention, Gerard recommends that anti-fly pour on is used, which helps deter flies from the cattle. He also said that keeping wounds cleaned and covered if at all possible will also help prevent a maggot infestation.

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Treatment can be done purely by the farmer. He said to remove any maggots that are there, treating with antiseptic sprays or ointments. He also advised to regularly check cattle throughout the day, once the maggots have been removed.

“For treatment, just remove them and check wounds a few times a day and use healing sprays or ointments,” advised Gerard.

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