Why deworming cattle is important

It is economically important to deworm adult cattle at strategic times to improve production and reproduction. The best times would be early summer (Oct-Nov) & before winter season (April/May). Deworming at these strategic times will help to:

  • Reduce the internal parasite challenge on the veld
  • Reduce the risk of the negative impact of internal parasites on cattle

Of the 3 internal parasite groups (Roundworms, Tapeworms, Fluke worms), 2 are of major importance in adult cattle:

1.  Roundworms and they cause:

  • Depressed weight gains
  • Poor feed efficiency
  • Reduced milk production and reproductive inefficiency in cows

Although adult cattle may develop resistance against roundworm species, these parasites may have an influence on production, especially when animals are subjected to stress. Stress can include the transition period (just before and after calving), as well as nutritional (low quality /quantity feed) and environmental (drought and extreme weather) related stress.

2.  Liver fluke on the other hand causes liver damage to such an extent, that it:

  • Deprives the animal of energy and protein (loss of condition, fertility, and growth)
  • Limits the storage ability of trace minerals, which makes supplementation with trace minerals ineffective and leads to suboptimal trace-mineral levels (impaired immunity, reproduction, and production)
  • Leads to a vitamin-A shortage, even on green pastures.

Although cattle produce “antibodies” that are detectable via an ELISA test, cattle do not develop protective immunity against liver fluke.