Wanette, Okla. — Dec. 13, 2010 — Instead of commuting to work Oct. 25 the U.S. Pfizer Animal Health team put on boots, saddled up and went to work at Triple Heart Ranch, a 15,000-head stocker/backgrounding operation.
Rob Kelly, vice president of U.S. Cattle Operations, along with members of his sales and marketing teams, joined the ranch crew for a day of chores, feeding and calf processing. The effort highlights the exemplary cattle management of ranch owners Brock and Shelia Karges, and their employees, and recognizes their success in managing cattle health by combining an innovative therapy, nutrition and hard work.
“Among the numerous excellent nominations we received from across the country, Triple Heart Ranch stood out as a business that has incorporated sound animal care protocols, animal health regimens and animal nutrition,” Kelly said. “Shelia and Brock have worked hand in hand to build a business that is efficient, has animal care and nutrition as top priorities, and fosters a good working environment. We’re excited to be a part of their crew for a day.”
To demonstrate the value of DRAXXIN® (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution and its extended antibiotic therapy for the treatment and control of bovine respiratory disease (BRD), Pfizer Animal Health went on a nationwide search for a progressive cattle operation that has successfully implemented the anti-infective into its cattle care protocols. Shelia and Brock Karges at Triple Heart Ranch were selected for the “DRAXXIN Goes to Work” promotion.
“The Kargeses’ complete approach to managing their calves is one of the reasons we selected them for DRAXXIN Goes to Work,” Kelly added. “Their continuing work with their herd veterinarian and ensuring that their crew always follows Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) protocols adds to the picture. They also make sure everybody gets proper training and understands why a procedure is handled a specific way. This helps them reap the benefits of sound cattle management, including vaccinations and antimicrobial therapy.”
When the Kargeses reviewed their arrival protocols with their veterinarian last year, they began incorporating DRAXXIN for the control of BRD. Even then, they didn’t expect to have members of Pfizer Animal Health’s management team as part of their crew. In addition to Kelly, Pfizer Animal Health sent Julian Garcia, U.S. Cattle marketing director, and Dimitri Popov, marketing manager for DRAXXIN and A180® (danofloxacin mesylate). They were joined by Pfizer Animal Health Area Sales Manager Jared Shriver of Owasso, Okla., and Territory Manager Bill Jordan of Paoli, Okla.
“Pfizer Animal Health’s goal is to get closer to our customers to better understand their needs,” Kelly said. “What better way than to work in their boots for a day?”
Ride pens, process, load ’em out
As calf health is top priority at Triple Heart, the crew started work as the Oklahoma sun came up and hopped on horseback to ride pens. By doing so, they looked at each calf individually to make sure it was in top shape and didn’t exhibit any signs of ailments.
Once pens were checked, it was time to gather calves that were ready to be shipped to feedyards for finishing. The crew headed out to finishing pastures and gently drove the calves into a corral. Immediately, they began weighing, recording the weights and then loaded the cattle with the help of the Triple Heart crew.
Calves arrive at Triple Heart weighing about 500 pounds. They’re allowed to rest and settle for 24 hours with hay and water. Afterward, they’re processed using standard BQA protocols for vaccinations. Each also received the appropriate dose of DRAXXIN to control BRD. After processing, they stay in the receiving pen three to five days. They are then moved to a bigger pen, followed by 7- to 10-acre pastures before being moved onto larger ones until they reach their end weight of about 700 pounds.
Following written health protocols developed with the help of their veterinarian, the Kargeses have incorporated the use of a 10-day post-metaphylaxis interval (PMI) along with the use of DRAXXIN, taking advantage of the extended duration of efficacy for DRAXXIN.
A PMI is the period of time after which an anti-infective is administered for the control of BRD during which another anti-infective will not be administered. Utilization of a PMI allows DRAXXIN to control BRD for the extended period of time for which it has been demonstrated to be efficacious. During the same time, the Kargeses’ cowboys can focus their time and efforts on providing the best animal husbandry for the newly arrived calves.
“DRAXXIN has been a learning experience,” Shelia Karges said. “We started using it in 2005, and after documenting overall health improvement, we went 100 percent with it in 2009. It takes some pressure off pen riders since the calves have plenty of time to respond to treatment. They’re less worried about re-treating, and can spend more time monitoring health improvement, feeding and getting other work done.”
Shelia’s husband and business partner, Brock Karges, agreed.
“What we’ve seen with this health program is much lower medical-related time and expenses, but it did take a while for us all to get accustomed to the extended therapy. We went through several exercises with our crew to learn how not to re-treat calves at first glance,” Brock said. “Now, our ‘observes’ don’t come back as much, gain has improved, eye problems have cleared up and symptoms related to Mycoplasma bovis have practically gone away.
“Plus, the first time we used DRAXXIN as part of our arrival protocol, it was in the fall so we could see how the product met the weather-related health challenges here. It worked, and that’s when the other benefits of how we operate began to really show.”
Brock and Shelia are quick to point out that while DRAXXIN has helped to maintain healthier calves and lower medicine costs — as well as decreasing stress, saving labor needed to pull and treat calves, and consequently resulting in better gains as a result of the calves being healthier — it’s only one component of their overall management philosophy.
First, there are the calves. They buy quality heifers, all from a 150- to 300-mile radius of Wanette, Okla., seeking as much uniformity as possible. Second is quality nutrition. In fact, Shelia and Brock both say that without good nutrition, even the best vaccines don’t get a chance to work. Third is record keeping. Every management step and any treatment are recorded in a computer program. This allows continual analysis and improvement of arrival, processing, treatment and nutrition protocols.
These practices and the Kargeses’ commitment to an all encompassing management approach to cattle care led Rob Kelly to take his team to the Triple Heart Ranch and go to work for the Kargeses.
More about the Kargeses’ operation and their use of DRAXXIN will be featured on Cattlemen to Cattlemen, a program on RFD-TV. The Kargeses; their children, Karena and Jessica; and their existing and Pfizer Animal Health replacement crews will be featured on the program Dec. 14. Cattlemen to Cattlemen airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.
“We’re proud to be part of the Triple Heart Ranch team, if only for a day,” Kelly added. “Oklahoma cattlemen should be proud to call this operation one of their own and proud to see it showcased on Cattlemen to Cattlemen. It’s a shining example of what our industry can accomplish by using sound management, proven protocols and excellent animal care.”
Important Safety Information: Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. A pre-slaughter
withdrawal time has not been determined for pre-ruminating calves. Effects on reproductive performance, pregnancy and lactation have not been determined. DRAXXIN has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 18 days.
DRAXXIN prescribing information
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company, is a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines.
Pfizer Animal Health is dedicated to improving the safety, quality and productivity of the world’s food supply by enhancing the health of livestock and poultry; and in helping companion animals live longer and healthier lives. For additional information on Pfizer Animal Health’s portfolio of animal products, visit www.pfizerAH.com