Two of the greatest investments in any beef operation are the cattle and the people managing them — and sick cattle can drain profitability from both groups.
“Pulling and re-treating cattle helps protect their health, but it can take up a significant amount of time for producers,” says Lee Bob Harper, DVM, Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Operations. “Spending less time managing sick cattle can free producers up for other activities.”
Reducing time spent pulling, moving and re-treating animals begins with good management practices, Dr. Harper says. This helps promote overall health and immune function. Making sure animals have access to fresh, clean water and a balanced ration can help ward off problems before they start. Good vaccination programs also can help minimize losses in both cattle efficiency and producer or employee time.
Even under the best conditions, some cattle are still likely to get sick. This can lead to lost profits in multiple ways through time spent pulling and re-treating as well as production losses associated with bovine respiratory disease.
One of the most common illnesses cattle are faced with is bovine respiratory disease (BRD), although it is often difficult to tell exactly what is causing the disease. That’s why Dr. Harper recommends a product with proven efficacy in multiple clinical studies. In addition, he advises producers to choose a product that can maintain at least seven days of therapeutic levels, which helps lower the number of re-pulls and re-treats. For example, EXCEDE (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension provides seven days of therapy in just one dose, helping reduce both stress on cattle and time spent managing sick cattle. In fact, research indicates that EXCEDE is more effective when adhering to a seven-day post treatment interval as opposed to retreating after three days of therapy.
“Receiving at least seven days of antibiotic therapy can help reduce economic losses associated with repulls and can result in labor savings,” Dr. Harper says. “Some antibiotics don’t last a full seven days, requiring more management to pull and re-treat. Keeping cattle healthy leaves time to invest in other aspects of the operation. There are never enough hours in the day, and no one wants to spend their valuable time unnecessarily working sick cattle. Good management and smart antibiotic choices can help maximize treatment success, time and profitability.”