Farm Ireland

Saturday 15 December 2018

Autumn dosing; 'Hoose' in control?

Vaccinating cattle before they go into the shed ensures protection is in place when it is most needed
Vaccinating cattle before they go into the shed ensures protection is in place when it is most needed

It’s getting dark slightly earlier and there’s a need for a fleece in the evenings. Autumn is only just around the corner and soon we’ll have to plan the run up to the housing period again.

From a dosing perspective the most significant parasite at this time of year is lungworm or hoose. Large numbers of infective hoose worms can accumulate on the pasture in less than a week and cause severe respiratory disease and even death in a few days.

Hoose can be a killer in its own right but also opens the door to let other pathogens and bugs in to cause disease and a lack of thrive. Weanlings infected with lungworm end up with damage to their lungs and airways which makes it easier for viruses and bacteria to take a hold and cause pneumonia. 

When we house cattle in the autumn we move them from being outside in clean fresh air into a shed. Even in a well-designed, correctly stocked shed air quality will not be as good as outside. Inside weanlings’ lungs will be challenged by dust, ammonia, viruses and bacteria and if there isn’t an effective worm control plan in place, lungworm and the damage they cause will be there to facilitate these other challenges to cause even further damage.

Traditionally as cattle are housed farmers will give them a housing dose to clear out the lungworm and may vaccinate them for viral pneumonia too; however this is not necessarily the best time to use these products.

Worm doses will kill the worms within 24 to 36 hours, BUT the damage they caused will take 2 to 3 weeks to heal. Think about when you cut your hand; you might be able to stop the bleeding almost immediately with a plaster, but it will take a few weeks for the scar to form and the skin to heal.

If animals are given a Pre Housing Dose (PHD) a month before housing with a persistent wormer like Cydectin Pour On or Dectomax Pour On, the worms will be killed there and then but because these products also have a persistent effect, worms and infective larvae they pick up whilst still at grass will continue to be killed for the next 5 to 6 weeks.

In the meantime the lungs will have a chance to heal under this protection. The other benefits of a PHD are that the stomach worms will have been removed, so improving the weanlings’ appetite which will help maximise the use of the last of the autumn grass.

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These pour ons also kill both biting and sucking lice and ensure that cattle have both clean lungs and clean hides at housing. A housing dose for worms is no longer required after animals had a PHD with Cydectin Pour On or Dectomax Pour On, as any of the infective larvae picked up in the last month will be killed. A dose for fluke may be required after housing.

Vaccines stimulate an animal’s immune system to protect itself against disease. This doesn’t occur immediately after vaccination but can take from as little as 5 days to a number of weeks.

The greatest challenge for housed animals is generally in the first 7 to 10 days, so vaccinating them BEFORE they go into the shed ensures protection is in place when it is most needed i.e. during the first few weeks. Vaccines like Rispoval RS Pi3 Intranasal and Rispoval IBR Marker Live can be given at the same time as weanlings are receiving their PHD.

Take control of your worming programme and give your cattle a PHD by using either Dectomax or Cydectin a month before housing and combine it with an effective vaccination programme.

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