Logan updates WSGA on animal healthWritten by Megan Weisensee
Laramie – Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan recently gave his bi-annual report to the attendees of the Wyoming Cattle Industry’s Convention on June 2 and included a variety of updates related to all aspects of the Wyoming Livestock Board’s (WLSB) work.
Due to statewide budget cuts, funding for the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program, as well as for the Wyoming Wildlife Livestock Disease Research Partnership, has been put on hold.
However these programs remain in statute, so they can resume when the economic situation improves.
No other significant changes are expected at this time
Revisions to the Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine rules are in progress.Revisions include no longer requiring continuing education credits for artificial insemination technicians, embryo transfer and transplant technicians.
“The main reason for that is, while we will still require them to be certified and they still have to have a certificate or permit from the board, continuing education has been difficult for those people to get because there are just not classes readily available for them,” Logan said.
He also discussed a proposed rule that would require all new veterinary licensees in the state to attend an orientation that would include presentations by the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy, the WLSB, Wyoming Health Department, Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These rules revisions will go out for public comment, if the Governor approves.
Logan explained, “We have been doing orientations for about the last four or five years, and they have been very well received and, for the most part, very well attended.”
Gov. Matt Mead signed new Chapter 13 Scrapie rules and Chapter 15 Trichomoniasis (trich) rules into effect on May 20.
Logan explained, “The big change in the trich rules is that we will no longer consider the culture test with microscopy an official test for trichomoniasis. There is scientific validity behind doing this. There is new science out on the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which is basically a test that tests for the DNA of the Tritrichomonas foetus organism that causes the disease. The Board has now gone to requiring just one PCR test on samples for bulls that are changing ownership or bulls that are going out for public grazing.”
While the decrease in number of tests required will hopefully make testing easier for producers, there are some concerns about eliminating the culture test. The main concern addressed was the cost of testing.
“The PCR test, about anywhere, is more expensive to run than the culture test was,” Logan commented. “But, what we have allowed to try and compensate for the use of the PCR test is the allowance of pooling of samples.”
If requested by the producer and the submitting veterinarian, individual samples can be pooled at the laboratory, with up to five bulls per pool, and run as a single test.
New changes to the Chapter 2 Brucellosis rules have also been submitted and will be out for public comment, if the Governor approves.
Along with the changing Chapter 15 rules, the current trich situation in the state was discussed.
The number of positive cases has greatly decreased in the past few years, and this year’s spring testing has revealed no positive bulls in the state as of yet, leading to a favorable outlook for the state.
“We haven’t had a case found since late January of this year, which is a good thing because we are pretty much about at the end of the testing season for this spring,” Logan said. “It appears that our program is showing some success after nearly 20 years.”
Logan also urged producers near the South Dakota border to exercise more caution as there have been a number of positive trich cases in that state this year.
Brucellosis continues to be a focus issue for the state with cases in cattle in both Park and Sublette counties.
According to Logan, “The scrutiny on the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) states is getting more and more strong in spite of the fact that producers and regulations through WLSB are doing what they need to do.”
WLSB veterinary staff currently has two designated brucellosis-affected herds, which have been under quarantine since the fall of 2015. These herds are undergoing the necessary whole-herd tests and will hopefully be released from quarantine soon.
WLSB is working closely in conjunction with the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory on brucellosis testing and research for these herds.
In the last few years, nine total seropositive elk have been found outside of the Designated Surveillance Area in western Big Horn County. Though there have not been any cattle found to be brucellosis positive in this area and the positive elk have been removed, the seroprevalence in elk has prompted the state of Montana to require testing of cattle coming from this area.
“Montana, as of June 15, is going to require a brucellosis test on all sexually intact animals 12 months of age and over from Big Horn County,” Logan said.
He also noted that it is uncertain at this time what other changes may be made in response to this action.
Steven Tharp entertains, displays appreciation for the women of agricultureWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Buffalo – “I have a veritable plethora, a cornucopia, of things I couldn’t script in life,” stated Veterinarian Steven Tharp at the Women’s Ag Summit in Buffalo on Jan. 24, as he proceeded to entertain his audience with a collection of stories and anecdotes.
“My life is characterized by endless hours of boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror,” he added.
In an article that he wrote for WREN Magazine, he used leprechauns to account for things that go missing without explanation.
“Dear readers, the next time a beloved cat disappears, be skeptical, be very skeptical, and know that leprechauns do indeed love to play trickery with even pets,” his article warned, after discovering the missing animal in a locked toolbox.
Checking for ticks, the article included, would also be wise, as the leprechauns might hide those on people or animals.
“There are so many things, I couldn’t possibly make them up,” he said.
Tharp grew up in Hyattville, with 11 students in his graduating class.
“My dad was a dirt farmer and a sheep man. He had five kids. He didn’t just sit around doing crossword puzzles,” he explained.
Tharp graduated from Colorado State University and is now a veterinarian, living and practicing near Worland, with a clear appreciation for the people he works with.
“I don’t just see cattle. I have to wear a lot of hats,” he noted.
“We are unique. We are special. We are a bunch of oddballs,” he said.
He explained that the odds of living in the U.S. as a farmer or rancher are actually quite small.
“To all of those folks in the ag business, I owe a great debt of gratitude,” he commented.
In another article for WREN, he described some of the lessons that he has learned from the families that he has worked with over the years.
“Those folks taught me how to fake meatloaf until I could make meatloaf and ironically, other’s perception created my reality. For this, I stand in awe of the reality of who our ranchers really are,” he stated.
Continuing the praise, he emphasized the importance of farmers and ranchers amongst today’s ever-growing population.
“America, and indeed the world, needs the drive, dream, perspicacity and willingness of ranchers to go the extra mile for me, for us and for a hungry world,” he added.
Perception and reality, he explained, are not the same.
“I have come to know that there is the perception of style and the reality of content. There is the perception of form and the reality of substance,” he remarked.
Public perception has captured the American farmer in overalls as a character who isn’t very smart, but Tharp points out that the reality is quite different.
“We are forever going to battle a perception that what we do is less than important,” he explained.
He added that newcomers into the industry are coming at a good time, and he believes that those who have made it through all of the hard times will get the rewards they are due.
“We have reached a tipping point. The protein bubble has burst,” he stated.
Hungry mouths will realize the value in farmers and ranchers because it is those in the ag industry who will be feeding the world, Tharp commented.
Apley projects restrictions for antibiotics in the future of livestock productionWritten by Madeline Robinson
Denver, Colo. – The accessibility and availability of various antibiotics for food animal health will become restricted in the next decade, said Mike Apley, DVM and professor at Kansas State University during the 2014 International Livestock Congress.
“This is a very important issue we have to look forward to in the next decade,” said Apley. “The chance of a new group of antibiotics for use in food animals is nonexistent. We have the main tools we are going to use. Now it is more about husbandry practices in preserving antibiotic use.”
Apley believes the antimicrobial use in food animals can change the bacterial population susceptibility profile, and this causes concern for people that resistant pathogens will become more prevalent.
“There are multiple safe uses of antimicrobials in food animals for the benefits to both human and animal health,” explained Apley. “This is how we have to frame the responsible conversations that move us forward in discussions with specific antimicrobial uses and relations to specific pathogens.”
Apley stressed, “The MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) outbreaks we’re seeing in humans have absolutely nothing to do with food animals. It is human driven and community sourced.”
A concern of Apley’s is policy passing for human medicine and having it result in harm to food animal health medicine.
“It’s about our ability 50 years from now to still be using antibiotics to treat diseases in our own animals,” said Apley. “There is no effective alternative to the antimicrobials, and there has to be evidence that the antimicrobial will be safe and effective for use.”
Some classes of antibiotics have been on the market for decades, and Apley suggested the effects of them need to be revisited and evaluated to see if they are still applicable in today’s medical world.
“Its not enough for me to have someone down the road at the coffee shop telling me a certain antibiotic saved the calves in 1972,” said Apley. “It is not enough for me and not enough to convey to consumers.”
“The first big step in moving forward on our judicious antimicrobial use is to have veterinarians and producers working together,” said Apley. “We have to make sure everyone has the best information to work with and receive benefit from it.”
“The control of veterinary antimicrobials should be in the hands of veterinarians,” added Apley.
“All feed antimicrobials that may be used in water are either going to be prescription or veterinary feed directive by about 2017,” stated Apley.
Apley went on to explain the future accessibility of other medical antibiotics will eventually be authorized by veterinarians as well.
“The gram per 100 pounds per head per day of chlorotetracycline (CTC) or oxytetracycline (OTC) will change. Those are therapeutic drugs and will not be a taken away,” described Apley. “They will, though, require the authorization of a vet to use of them.”
The use of ionophores will not be included in the classification of therapeutic drugs and will not result in a veterinarian’s authorization to use them for growth promotion in cattle.
“The days of visiting the local farm store for these drugs are going to be numbered. Right now they are not focusing on injectable products, but the water products will be gone in three years,” explained Apley. “They won’t be gone from market. They will just have to be prescribed by veterinarians to be able to use them.”
Apley added, “The days of penicillin (Pen-G) at the local store are probably numbered, as well.”
With all the new restrictions occurring with food animal medicines and antibiotics, Apley pondered the effectiveness of veterinarians.
“For veterinarians, we are debating whether or not we will retain our relevancy, or if we’re just going to be authorizing regulatory formulations,” said Apley. “It’s really a crossroads for us.”
Local focus - Vet tackles health myths at LocalFestWritten by Melissa Hemken
Lander – The new Lander Community Center was host to the Fourth Annual LocalFest on Oct. 24, focused on producing and marketing agriculture products locally. Will Winter of Minnesota, a retired veterinarian, presented on livestock nutrition and health, focusing one session on the biggest lies in livestock production.
“There’s a lot of stuff that science does not know how to explain whatsoever, like murmurations of birds and how schools of fish move,” said Winter, founder of the American Holistic Livestock Association. “The other thing is a germ. Myth number one is that germs are the cause of disease.”
“I’m going to take a dead calf and put bovine tuberculosis germs on it. Will it get tuberculosis? No, because disease is created by the body,” he explained. “Health is related to genetics, nutrition and environment for livestock.”
“In Europe, the Mad Cow disease hysteria killed millions of stock, and it’s a prion disease – not infectious,” Winter continued. “Hoof and Mouth is another one that caused millions of animals to be killed. Both are caused by what the animal eats. We can’t name one disease that doesn’t begin with nutrition.”
According to Winter, the biggest lies of modern medicine are vaccine, wormer and antibiotics.
“Vaccines are a nasty crutch that get us in trouble down the road,” Winter said. “The multivalent vaccines are the worst as they scramble the immune system, and the body doesn’t know what it’s fighting. We want to stay away from multivalents, even if they are more convenient.
“As a vet, I used to vaccinate like crazy, and I injected myself with strain 19 live brucellosis. All the vets treated themselves with a mineral cocktail,” he explained, “so why don’t we do this with cattle?”
“We can’t have a conventional livestock operation and take away all the drugs at once,” Winter continued. “The stock will all die because they are addicted to the drug. Zinc is something we use as we move the stock off of the vaccines.”
Minerals and nutrition
Many beef producers underestimate the importance of mineral supplementation and nutrition.
Mineral deficiencies cause a reduction in growth and efficiency and depress the immune system. Trace minerals are required for metabolism of nutrients, reproduction, immune response and nerve conduction.
The most commonly deficient minerals are copper, cobalt, magnesium and zinc.
“A faded, reddish Black Angus that doesn’t have the blue-black color is deficient in copper,” Winter said. “Iron is an antagonist to copper and zinc. If we have iron in our water or soil, we probably have a deficiency in copper and zinc.”
He continued, “They say sheep aren’t supposed to have copper, but I differ. My sheep needed a copper mineral to bring the color out in their horns and hooves, and my worms went away.”
Pink eye and foot rot are caused by mineral deficiencies, as well, he explained.
“I use Multi-Min 90 and vitamin A before shipping or right after purchasing cattle. The injections alleviate mineral deficiencies during times of stress,” Winter explained. “It takes about a year to fully replenish minerals to the bone marrow.”
Winter said that Ivomec is useless now, as there are so many super worms, and it affects the soil minerals killing the dung beetles. Wyoming has over a dozen species of dung beetles, and they are needed for fertility and to sequester the carbon back in the soil.
To check if a producer has dung beetles, take a bucket of water and throw in a scoop of fresh, day-old manure. The beetles will swim to the top of the water.
In the U.S., 80 percent of antibiotics sold are used for livestock.
“Antibiotic resistance is very common now,” Winter said. “A good place to die is a hospital because of all the super bugs. We blame feed grade antibiotics as the problem. It is even hard to find calf starter without antibiotics woven into it.”
He further mentioned, “Overdosing on antibiotics is a huge problem. A healthy digestive tract is 80 percent good bacteria and 20 percent bad. Antibiotics upset this balance. Hippocrates said, ‘Nature itself is the best physician.’”
“To get away from antibiotics and vaccines, nutrition is essential,” Winter said. “When the average Brix of forage hits 12, we are golden. We don’t need vaccines or supplements. If we have a low Brix, we might have to go all the way back to the soil to find what needs to be done to increase nutrients.”
The Brix unit of measure has been traditionally used in the wine, sugar, fruit and honey industries to estimate the sugar, or sucrose, or water soluble content. Forages are composed of many soluble and non-soluble compounds, including sugars, oils, minerals and proteins. Measuring Brix in forages shows the nutrient and energy content of the grass. To improve the Brix count of forage, apply charcoal, compost tea, manure and lime.
“A rancher with a high Brix measure in their forage,” Winter explained, “will produce a 12-ounce grass-fed steak that will fill up a guy who can normally eat a 30-ounce commercial steak. That is the difference in nutrient density that the steer consumed.”
“As soon as we got to 1914 and produced war chemicals, we threw all our treasured knowledge of animal husbandry away,” Winter said. “Old agriculture books have tons of ag wisdom that was known back then, and we have forgotten. There are a rainbow of tools are out there, and there are amazing things we can do without using vaccines, wormers or antibiotics in our stock.”
“I encourage every farmer and rancher with livestock to have a homeopathic first aid kit,” Will Winter, a retired veterinarian from Minnesota, said. “We can cure our kids, chickens, cattle, hogs or whatever with 50 homeopathic items.”
“Apple cider vinegar is the most startling,” he commented. “I see more results with it than anything else. It prevents scours, bloat, reflux, indigestion and virtually all forms of internal and external parasites, and it improves disease resistance.”
Apple cider vinegar can be administered to livestock through mixing in the water tank at a rate of 1.5 cups of apple cider vinegar to 20 gallons of water. It can also be sprinkled directly onto hay, silage or concentrate feed. Recommendation consumption for beef cattle via the drenching method is four ounces a day per head and, for calves, two ounces a day.
PEDv found in WyoWritten by Saige Albert
In the last week, a Wyoming producer discovered the presence of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in their herd.
“Producers should be aware that PEDv has been found in Wyoming,” says Jim Logan, Wyoming state veterinarian. “It is not something that we will block our borders for or quarantine producers for, but it could have a huge impact on production for the swine industry.”
“PEDv was first found in Iowa last April,” Logan comments. “Since then, it has spread to 22 states, with Wyoming being the 22nd state.”
The disease is not regulated, so states are not putting people or farms under quarantine or regulating borders.
Additionally, PEDv only affects swine and is not a zoonotic disease, meaning there is no impact in humans, but it still poses a serious threat for swine producers.
In newborn or suckling pigs, PEDv causes uncontrollable diarrhea and high death loss.
“It is a very contagious virus transmitted by the fecal-oral route,” Logan adds. “The incubation period-from when an animal is exposed until it breaks with the disease is typically three to four days.”
After that timeframe, Logan notes that many animals die from the virus.
“There is no treatment for PEDv,” he continues. “Producers can put pigs on antibacterials to keep secondary infections at bay, but there is no way to treat the virus itself.”
If pigs do survive, the disease usually runs its course within seven to 10 days of the onset of symptoms.
While Iowa saw an early surge in PEDv cases, CME Group comments that anecdotal evidence indicates that most of those cases were in grow-finish farms where pigs were sickened and slowed a bit but death losses
were not large.
In Oklahoma, however, sow farms saw death losses among baby pigs at near 100 percent for about three weeks before immunity levels in pregnant sows were established and production returned, generally, to normal levels.
“The bottom line is – newborns and young piglets are more susceptible, though older pigs can get the virus, as well,” Logan says.
Logan cautions swine producers to remain vigilant and take measures to reduce the risks of the disease.
“There is no vaccine for PEDv, so producers need to take biosecurity measures,” he advises. “If anyone is buying pigs, they should question who they are getting them from and make sure they are coming from a clean source.”
He also adds that it is wise to avoid places where swine are concentrated.
The best way to keep PEDv out of swine is by implementing and following good biosecurity measures.
Nationwide, PEDv has greatly impacted the swine industry.
“In the case of hogs, producers and packers are trying to offset the death losses caused by PEDv by keeping hogs on feed a bit longer and adding more pounds to carcasses,” said CME Group in their Jan. 6 report.
They add that the impact of PEDv could also be seen in USDA’s December Hogs and Pigs Report.
PEDv killed an estimated 1.4 million piglets, and it appears to be increasing in U.S. herds, according to the report.
Additionally, the U.S. hog herd breeding inventory fell in the last quarter, says USDA.
The result is expected to impact retail pork prices, adds Agri-Pulse.
“Retail pork prices are already near record highs, averaging $3.78 a pound in November, partly because of high energy costs,” they wrote.
Steiner Consulting Group’s Altin Kalo says the impacts of PEDv haven’t been seen in the market yet, but beginning next summer, prices will start to increase
He predicted that 2014 hog prices will be up almost eight percent in the second quarter, though declines may be seen in the second half of the year.