Why You Shouldn’t Skip Cattle Deworming

Management : Cow & Calf

Management : Weaned Calf

Management : Replacement

Management : Grower & Finisher

Elizabeth Backes-Belew, Ph.D.

Nutritionist, Beef Technical Solutions

Deworming cattle can be costly.

What happens if I skip cattle deworming?

Internal parasites in cattle can cause huge economic losses on an operation. In fact, it was estimated that internal parasites cost the U.S. cattle industry approximately $3 billion annually.1 When an internal infection occurs and visible signs go undetected, it can negatively impact cattle efficiency and performance. Worst of all, you may not even realize your cattle are being affected.

So, what can happen if internal parasites in cattle are not controlled?

  • Sacrifice feed efficiency. The major internal parasites that flourish in cattle reside in the digestive tract of infected animals, specifically in the abomasum and small and large intestines. The stomach and intestinal lining are disrupted as a result. When these linings are disrupted, the digestive and absorption processes decrease allowing internal parasites to use nutrients meant for the animal. This can lead to reduced nutrient utilization and feed efficiency.
  • Reduce potential for gain. A decrease in feed efficiency and nutrient utilization means performance will suffer. Animals may not reach target weights on schedule.
The investment in deworming can be well worth the cost. When choosing a cattle dewormer, it’s important to select one that matches your production goals and operating procedures to get the best return on your investment.
Horn flies can also affect cattle performance.

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1 Bagley, C., M. C. Healey, and D. Hansen. 1998. Beef Cattle Handbook: Internal parasites in cattle. < Cattle Handbook/Internal_Parasites.pdf>. Accessed February 18, 2016.