Animal Husbandry Management for the Control of Bovine Coccidiosis

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Management of bovine coccidiosis should be aimed at reducing and eliminating the number of oocysts the cattle are exposed to.  Since the oocysts are passed in the feces cattlemen should avoid feeding on the ground if at all possible.  Feeding in troughs and bunks will help elevate the feed and reduce exposure to the oocysts.  If feeding on the ground can not be avoided, then do not feed in the same spot at every feeding.  This helps to prevent the area from becoming wet and eaten down to the dirt, which will increase the survivability and exposure of the oocysts.  Also feed in areas that have good drainage.  Hay that is fed should be fed so it is consumed at one feeding, so the cattle do not defecate in it.  Hay that will not be fed at one feeding, but over several days, should be fed in hay rings.  This will help to eliminate moisture and the passage of oocysts on hay that is left over for the next day.

Cattlemen can elevate the drinking water to help eliminate the passage of oocysts from the feces to the drinking water.  If cattle are drinking from ponds and streams avoid feeding in these areas.

Cattle that are stressed are very susceptible to the clinical signs of coccidiosis.  Avoid overcrowding and keep the cattle healthy.  Good nutrition and receiving programs are very important to help reduce the stress in cattle and thus to help control coccidiosis.  Remove any cattle that are showing clinical signs of coccidiosis and isolate them from the herd.

Last but not least, instill management programs to treat those cattle that have clinical signs of coccidiosis. Initiate control programs for those cattle that are not showing clinical signs of coccidiosis, but are under stress due to weaning, shipping, weather, comingling, etc.  These programs have been shown to be very cost effective and increase the performance of the cattle.

Questions: If you have additional questions regarding cocidiosis in cattle, we are anxious to hear from you.  Go to the “contact us” tab and click on it for contact information.

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