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Beef Cattle: Health

This section about livestock health will concentrate on the diseases that are most economically significant, the control of those diseases, knowledge about cattle health and management practices, potential problems, and to intelligently participate in developing a health and management plan.

Information and Resources


Link Pointer Cattle Gut Microbe Series: Ruminococcus species
Ruminococcus species are an anaerobic, spherical shaped, Gram-positive species of bacteria that are present in the digestive and reproductive tracts of cattle.. These bacteria are highly abundant and contribute to the digestive and reproductive health of the animal.

Link Pointer Cattle Gut Microbe Series: Lactobacillus species
Lactobacillus microbes are abundant and influential in the rumen of cattle. Lactobacillus species are rod-shaped, gram-positive bacteria that produce lactic acid. Depending on the situation, Lactobacillus microbes can be both beneficial and/or harmful to cattle performance.

Link Pointer Asian Longhorned Tick
The origin of the tick in the US remains unknown. Some possible routes of entry include entering on domestic pets, horses, livestock or humans. The real impact of the introduction of this tick into the US is not clear at this time, but animal health officials are concerned about potential detrimental impacts on livestock and wildlife.

Link Pointer Grass Tetany Prevention and Treatment
Spring with its green pastures is the time of year that cattle long for at the end of a long winter. These grasses will be lush and your cows will tear a fence down to get on these pastures, but these grasses also will be full of moisture and potentially diluted of minerals. This can lead to a condition known as grass tetany.

Link Pointer Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation
A bull breeding soundness evaluation (BSE) is a uniform method of assessing a bull’s likelihood of establishing pregnancy in an appropriate number of open, healthy, cycling cows or heifers in a defined breeding season.

Link Pointer Involve Your Veterinarian
Your veterinarian plays an important role in preventing, diagnosing and treating disease in your herd. Selecting the proper treatment depends on accurately diagnosing the problem, so work with your local veterinarian to develop a health care program designed to fit your specific needs. With the new FDA feed antibiotic regulations in place, it is more important than ever to have a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) with your veterinarian.

Link Pointer Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis Cattle Pinkeye
Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK), more commonly known as pinkeye in cattle, is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the eye. Although pinkeye is a non-fatal condition, it has a tremendous economic impact on the US cattle industry.

Link Pointer Veterinary Feed Directives
What beef cattle producers need to know about the upcoming federal regulatory changes for medicated feeds. Medicated feeds are valuable tools that can be utilized by beef cattle producers for various health or production reasons. Such reasons include the treatment, control or prevention of certain diseases, or for growth promotion and feed efficiency.

Link Pointer Bovine Trichomoniasis: Fact Sheet for Tennessee Producers
Infected cattle usually appear and act normal without any outward signs of infection. The first indication of an infected herd will be when cows are examined for pregnancy and too many cows are open (not pregnant), or there is a strung out (prolonged) calving season, or a reduced calf crop (low birth rate).

Link Pointer Vaccinating the Herd
A successful herd health program includes, but is not limited to, proper herd immunization (vaccination) to prevent and/or control a variety of infectious diseases. However, selecting the proper vaccines for your herd can be a difficult task considering the large number of vaccines that are available.

Link Pointer Safety and Security for the Beef Operation
Safety and security on the farm should be a concern for beef producers. The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and the potential spread of anthrax to the United States make animal care a very important issue.

Link Pointer Leptospirosis in Beef Cattle
Leptospirosis is known to be a common disease of cattle generally resulting in reproductive failure such as abortion and infertility. Leptospirosis is contagious and is spread by cattle including bulls.

Link Pointer Anaplasmosis in Cattle
Anaplasmosis is a disease of cattle, sheep and goats resulting in anemia and sometimes death especially in adult cattle. This disease is seen worldwide and is a common disease in the southern United States.

Link Pointer Controlling Parasites of Beef Cattle Improves Performance and Value
Controlling parasites can both improve performance and add value to feeder cattle. Losses in performance and value amount to millions of dollars each year from loss of blood and just plain irritation. This article will present a discussion of control of both external and internal parasites.

Link Pointer Bluetongue and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in Livestock
Bluetongue (BT) and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) are diseases caused by similar viruses that are rapidly spread by biting gnats, resulting in similar symptoms in cattle, sheep and whitetail deer, among others.

Link Pointer Bovine Virus Diarrhea Virus Infection in Cattle
BVD infections appear to be common in US cattle. The virus can spread through the cowherd rapidly. The calf is the most likely animal to be responsible for spreading the virus. The resulting infection is most likely to be associated with reproductive problems of some kind.

Link Pointer Dallisgrass Staggers
Dallisgrass Staggers is a problem that is likely to be seen in cattle and horses this fall due to the warm, wet summer that we have experienced. Due to the increased growth of warm season grasses, more seed heads will be produced every year and should be managed to prevent this issue.

Link Pointer Identifying Beef Cows “At Risk” of Becoming Downers
This is of value to cow-calf producers in evaluating the risk of “downer cows” in their herds. Market “at risk” cows before further deterioration occurs and they still have value. At risk cows that cannot be immediately marketed should be separated from the herd and provide management, health and nutrition programs to reduce the risk.