Do your calves have these strange hairless circular spots? It is a ringworm.
Are you saying you get worms found in the skin? No, not to worry because ringworm is a fungal infection of the hair and surface layers of the skin.
So, is it of much importance? Ringworm causes economic losses by affecting growth rates, especially during the early stage of infection, and permanent hide damage.
Ringworm is transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or indirectly by fomites (such as equipment, fencing, and feed troughs). Many factors play a role in the risk of spreading ring worm such as younger calves being more susceptible, high-density areas/camps, poor nutrition, lowered immunity, hot humid climates, and access to direct sunlight.
Ringworm is characterized by grey, white circular scabs (3-5cm). Ringworm lesions are generally found on the head and neck of animals but can be found all over the body. This is why the feeding and water trough play such a key role in the spread of disease as this is where the direct contact occurs. Ringworms get their distinct circular shape from the infection starting in the center and moving outwards. Scabs can fall off leaving a hairless area with a crusty edge.
Ringworm can be and is treated by using topical medications. Although these medications cannot penetrate the scab, therefore the scab needs to be scraped or brushed off first. Lesions need to be treated at least twice three to five days apart. The following products can be used F10 spray or ointment, Kaptan Powder (forms a paste), or 2% iodide solution spray. It is essential to remember that scabs are a source of infection. Scabs need to be collected and burned.
Most importantly ringworm is a zoonosis, meaning animals can infect humans. Therefore, gloves should be worn when treating infected animals. Your hands should be thoroughly washed after each treatment.
Lumpy jaw is a disease of the jawbone caused by a bacterial infection called Actinomyces bovis. These bacteria form part of the normal flora in the mouth of ruminants. So then how does it cause disease? The bacteria enter the soft tissue of the mouth through open wounds. These wounds can be caused by foreign objects such as sticks, wire, thorns, or grass awns. Very coarse feed has also been known to cause injury to the soft tissue of the mouth.
True to its common name, this bacterium produces permanent hard swellings on the bones of the jaw. The bottom jawbone, the mandible, is more commonly affected. The swellings are multiple pus-filled abscesses attached to the bone. The by-products produced by this bacterium start to break down the bone of the jaw – forming little pits in the bone. The body tries to compensate for this loss by laying down new bone. This is how these swellings become permanent. The bone affected by this bacterium has a very characteristic honeycomb appearance. These swellings cause facial distortion, loss of teeth, and difficulty breathing as they obstruct the airway.
Animals do not die from the bacterium directly but rather the consequences of it. Animals affected by this bacterium are unable to eat or drink properly resulting in poor condition.
Lumpy jaw is not a highly contagious disease, often only one to two are affected. Animals can be treated but unfortunately, any bony changes to the jaw cannot be reversed. The bacterium is killed by treating the animal with sodium Iodide intravenously once a week for several weeks. Relapse of this condition is common.
Lumpy skin disease is an infectious, highly contagious occasionally fatal disease of cattle characterized by nodules on the skin and other parts of the body, both internally and externally. Lumpy skin disease is most often found in southern and eastern Africa, but in the 1970s it extended northwest through into middle and northern Africa as well as the middle east.
Lumpy skin disease appears epidemically or sporadically its incidence is highest in wet summer weather, but it may occur in winter because of global warming. Temperatures are not dropping low enough to remove the responsible vector population Since it is largely a vector-borne disease, environmental conditions need to be right for the disease to occur. There are many mechanisms of transmission in this disease
Biting flies -Tabanid species and stomoxys calcitrans
The incubation period is 4–14 days. Infected cattle develop primary viremia which presents with a fever. Lethargy, inappetence, and malaise are also common clinical signs seen at this stage of infection.
The nodules are well-circumscribed, round, slightly raised, and full thickness through the skin. Nodules may develop in the respiratory tract as well as along the digestive system on any of the epithelial surfaces. Distal limb swelling is also a common occurrence because of the impedance of lymphatic drainage from the distal limbs.
In time, the nodules either regress or necrosis of the skin results in hard, raised areas known as sit-fasts. These areas slough to leave ulcers, which heal and scar.
A diagnosis of LSDV is often made on clinical signs. However, histopathology, virus isolation, or PCR are diagnostic tools that will confirm infection of LSDV. The disease may be confused with the less clinically important pseudo-lumpy skin disease, which is caused by a herpes virus (bovine herpesvirus 2). These diseases can be similar clinically, but pseudo-lumpy skin disease is less severe clinically as compared to LSDV.
Treatment and prevention:
Administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics to control secondary infections, anti-inflammatories to reduce pyrexia and improve clinical scores, good nursing care, and isolating the animal from the main herd are recommended.
Vaccinating the animal is the best method of prevention. The vaccine should be administered annually in a commercial herd and at feedlot entry for every calf regardless of the season. A very important note to make is to never vaccinate in the face of a lumpy skin outbreak. This will only perpetuate the disease spread and worse the outbreak. Vaccination can be continued two weeks after the last clinical case has been seen.
Pseudo-lumpy skin disease is a milder disease than a true lumpy skin disease, but differentiation depends essentially on isolation and/or identification of the causal virus. The pox virus of lumpy skin disease can be demonstrated by electron microscopy in early skin lesions. The two diseases can be distinguished by PCR.
Atypical interstitial pneumonia, also commonly known as fog fever, is a syndrome farmers see in their cattle after placing the animals on lush green grazing. Animals that are fed a dry ration prior to grazing lush pastures are more likely to be affected by this syndrome. Fog fever is also known as acute bovine pulmonary oedema and emphysema (ABPEE).
Cattle affected by this syndrome have been on dry feed for extended periods of time and the rumen fermentation pattern has adapted to this situation. With the change to lush green pasture the dietary protein concentration increases dramatically. One of the amino acids in this plant protein, tryptophan, is the culprit. The tryptophan in the feed is converted by rumen bacteria to a substance called 3-methylindole (3-MI) at a very high rate.
This 3-MI is absorbed through the rumen wall and circulated around the body. The 3-MI is toxic to the primary cells (Type 2 pneumocytes) that line the interior surface of the lungs at the alveolar-blood barrier. Thus, as the high levels of 3-MI move from the rumen to the lungs, more and more lung tissue is destroyed.
Frothing at mouth
Cattle do not normally run a fever- This is an extremely important point as the clinical signs seen with fog fever are very similar to those seen with Bovine respiratory disease.
Anxiety (separation from group)
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for fog fever. Mild cases may recover without treatment, should they be caught early enough. Most severely affected cattle will not respond to any treatment and will die within a day or two. Removing cows from pasture has not been scientifically proven to reduce cases. Some believe it prevents further cases, whilst others believe that moving sick animals can make the disease worse as the animals will be stressed and their respiratory effort will increase. Should animals be severely affected, remove them from the pastures in a calm and quiet manner to prevent them running, as this may result in death.
Some literature suggests the use of systemic diuretics. However, the cost involved of doing this along with the poor success rate following treatment does not make the treatment beneficial.
Limiting time grazing in the first 10 days when cattle are moved to a new pasture will reduce the chances of cattle developing AIP.
Allowing cattle to graze a couple of hours a day and building the length of grazing up is recommended.
Feeding monensin or chlortetracycline for the first 10 days can help control the situation. Always be aware the dangers of feeding too much monensin! It will result in necrosis of the cardiac muscle resulting in acute death.
Bovine Ephemeral Fever, more commonly known as Three-day stiff sickness, is a viral disease affecting cattle in Southern Africa. The disease is an arthropod borne Rhabdovirus and is characterized by a short duration fever, stiffness, lethargy, recumbency but almost always results in complete recovery.
Outbreaks of three-day stiff sickness are related to seasonal patterns. Since the virus is transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes and midges, high rainfall areas experience this problem more frequently than the drier areas of Southern Africa.
Three-day stiff sickness in most cases is self-limiting, meaning the animal will recover uneventfully without serious complications. Individual animals show a wide variety of clinical signs, but the onset is always rapid, characterized by a rapid rise in the animal’s body temperature. The animals usually have two or more febrile peaks 12-24 hours apart. During the initial febrile phase, the symptoms are usually mild and go unnoticed. During the second febrile peak, stiffness, lethargy, and anorexia is noticeable. Heavier animals with good body condition scores are usually more severely affected as compared to light weight cattle. Heavier animals will initially lie down in sternal recumbency which will progress to lateral recumbency as the disease progresses.
A multimodal approach is preferred in these cases. The disease is extremely painful, so pain management is the first method of treatment. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug should be administered, following a prescription from your veterinarian. Always ensure the animal is hydrated before administering these types of medications. Animals affected with three-day stiff sickness are almost always sub-clinically hypocalcemic and this metabolic disturbance contributes to the animals not being able to get up, as we also see in cases of milk fever. Treatment with Calcium-Borogluconate administered subcutaneously or via slow intravenous injection will help to correct the hypocalcemia. Keep in mind, repeat doses of calcium borogluconate may be necessary in severe cases. No medications should be given orally as the animals swallowing reflex may be affected because of the hypocalcemia. Lastly, always remember to let the animal rest with the provision of food and water in close proximity. This good old recipe is still the best!
As this virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and midges, vector control remains a top priority.
Vaccination of herds in endemic areas is a possibility. Immunization should be done in the spring to ensure sufficient level of protection is achieved during the summer and autumn months when the disease transmission through herds is at its highest.
FLORKEM® (Florfenicol 300 mg / m2) in 100 & 250 ml verpakkingsgroottes. Florkem is ‘n breëspektrum-antibiotika in die fenikol-groep. Vir die behandeling van primêre of sekondêre bakteriële infeksies by beeste en skape om herstel te bespoedig.
Calf diarrhoea as a complex is caused by a number of different micro organisms including viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. Classification of different aetiological causes is best done by determining the age of the calf when the diarrhoea begins.
Week one of age:
E.coli infections also known as Colibacillosis or calf scours is a bacterial infection resulting in moderate to severe yellow pasty diarrhoea in one week old calves. The onset of dehydration and death occurs rapidly in such cases.
Diagnosis: A tentative diagnosis is often made from presenting clinical signs as well as the macroscopic appearance of the faeces as well as the age of the calf (yellow/grey colour). A definitive diagnosis is made on bacterial culture.
Treatment: Symptomatic treatment to maintain the calf’s hydration status is recommended. The use of antibiotics is warranted in these cases. Antimicrobial resistance is becoming an ever-growing problem, meaning our antibiotics need to be reserved as much as possible. Antibiotics in the Sulphonamide group (Maxisulf, Norotrim and Sulfatrim) as well as the Flouroquinolone group (Baytril) are often effective against E. coli infections.
However, it is always recommended to submit faecal samples to a registered laboratory for bacterial culture and antibiogram. The antibiogram will tell us which antibiotics work effectively against E. coli.
*It is important to note that Baytril is not a first line antimicrobial and must always be used sparingly.
Prevention: Prevention is always better than cure! Vaccination of Heifers (8 weeks and then 4 weeks prior to calving) as well as Cows (4 weeks prior to calving) with any registered vaccine against E. coli. This will ensure there are sufficient levels of maternal antibodies when the calf drinks colostrum.
Biosecurity: Isolate the affected calf and then so to prevent spread to the other calves. Regular cleaning with a registered disinfectant is recommended.
Rota and Corona Virus
Diarrhoea caused by Rota and/or Corona virus commonly affects calves within the first week of life. Clinical signs include mild to moderate diarrhoea, dehydration, and a reduced appetite. Calf Diarrhoea as a result of these viruses are associated with low mortalities.
Diagnosis: Diagnosis is done through viral isolation from a faecal sample at an accredited laboratory.
Treatment: Symptomatic treatment is recommended. Electrolytes (Replensol/Electrogaurd). Antibiotic use is not advised in these cases.
Biosecurity: Isolate the affected calf so to prevent spread to the other calves. Regular cleaning with a registered disinfectant is recommended.
Week two of age:
Diarrhoea caused by the protozoal organism normally occurs around two weeks of age. On visual examination, the diarrhoea appears grey and pasty and is associated with an extremely high mortality rate. Once Cryptosporidium parvum is present on a farm, eradication of the organism is difficult due to the organism’s persistence in the environment as well as the protozoa being able to replicate within the host itself resulting in autoinfection.
Disinfection: Disinfection and eradication of the organism has proven extremely difficult. Disinfection of calf crates/pens with bleach and boiling water has found some success.
Diagnosis: Faecal sample submission to a registered laboratory will confirm infection. Rapid test kits will be available soon to diagnose on the farm.
Treatment: Electrolytes (Replensol/Electrogaurd). Halocur® or Parafor® are the recommended drugs for the treatment of Cryptosporidium.
Prevention: No vaccine is currently available against Cryptosporidium. Biosecurity and maintaining good calf crate/pen hygiene is of the utmost importance in preventing disease outbreaks.
It is important to note than Cryptosporidium is a zoonotic disease.
Week three of age:
Calf diarrhoea caused by Salmonella spp. (Typhimurium and Dublin) commonly affects calves three weeks and older. The diarrhoea has a characteristic yellow colour with fresh blood and necrotic material present. The diarrhoea also has a really bad smell to it.
Diagnosis: A tentative diagnosis is often made from presenting clinical signs, the macroscopic appearance of the faeces as well as the age of the calf (yellow with blood and necrotic material present. A definitive diagnosis is made on bacterial culture.
Treatment: Symptomatic treatment to maintain the calf’s hydration status is recommended with electrolytes. The use of antibiotics is warranted in these cases. Antibiotics in the Sulphonamide group (Maxisulf, Norotrim and Sulfatrim) as well as the Flouroquinolone group (Baytril) are often effective against Salmonella infections. Some success has been seen with the Florfenicol group of antibiotics (Nuflor, Cyflor, Resflor and Florkem).
Prevention: Vaccination of Heifers (8 weeks and then 4 weeks prior to calving) as well as Cows (4 weeks prior to calving) with any registered vaccine against salmonellosis. This will ensure there are sufficient levels of maternal antibodies when the calf drinks colostrum.
Biosecurity: Isolation and separation of the affected calf will help prevent the spread of the infection amongst the other calves. Regular disinfection and cleaning is highly recommended.
Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoal organism Eimeria Bovis/ Eimeria Zuernii resulting in a haemorrhagic diarrhoea of calves older than three weeks of age. Coccidia infections are as a result of poor husbandry such as with calves living in dirty, wet calf crate.
Diagnosis: A tentative diagnosis is often made from the macroscopic appearance of the faeces as well as the age of the calf with fresh blood being present in the faeces. A definitive diagnosis is made on a faecal float to identify the coccidia oocysts. A Diff Quick stain of the faeces will also reveal the coccidia merozoite.
Treatment: Symptomatic treatment to maintain the calf’s hydration status is recommended with electrolytes. The use of antibiotics is occasionally warranted in these cases. Antibiotics in the Sulphonamide group (Maxisulf, Norotrim and Sulfatrim). No other antibiotics are effective against coccidia. Anticoccidials such as Baycox and Vecoxan are also effective.
Prevention: Regular disinfection and cleaning is highly recommended. Ensure hygiene is maintained and living spaces are clean and dry at all times.
It is important to note than Coccidia is a zoonotic disease and affects immunocompromised individuals.
Helpful tips to keep in mind!!
Ensure calf maintains its hydration status. This can be done with supplemental electrolytes such as Electrogaurd and Replensol. Should commercial electrolytes not be available a home remedy of 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon bicarb and 1 tablespoon dextrose/glucose (No Sugar!) in two liters of water. Let the calf drink 1-2L depending on the severity of diarrhoea once daily.
Do not withhold milk in a case of calf diarrhoea.
Ensure each calf drinks colostrum 10% of its bodyweight (approximately 4L) within the first six hours of life!!!!!!
As labour intensive as it is, TLC goes a long way in ensuring survival of the calf.
Here are some questions that people are asking. We have created a FAQ group with DAFF (thanks to Dr. Marietta Bronkhorst for her help):
Is there a movement ban on animals?
There is no ban on the movement of animals in general, although it is advisable that movements should be restricted and discouraged as far as possible. The Gazette Notice does not prohibit the movement of animals. It prohibits the gathering of cloven hoofed animals, where there are two or more places of origin, and where the intention is to move the animals to two or more destinations, within a time period shorter than 28 days.
Are there any restrictions on the movement of animals from one farm to another?
The movement of animals between properties falls outside the scope of this Gazette Notice. The requirements that were applicable prior to the issuing of this notice are still applicable. There is no requirement for a government veterinary movement permit to be issued in terms of this Gazette.
If movements must take place, it is advised that a health declaration for movement is used, which requires veterinary inspection of the animals to be moved to ascertain that they are not showing clinical signs of Foot and Mouth Disease. This assists the seller and buyer of animals to limit potential spread of disease and subsequent liabilities.
How will live sales in the informal trade be regulated?
The emphasis must be on self-regulation and buyers must be made aware that they must only buy safe animals. Sellers of infected animals open themselves up to prosecution and civil lawsuits, should they cause the spread of FMD.
Is transport of animals allowed from farm to abattoir or from a feedlot to an abattoir?
Movement of animals from a farm or a feedlot directly to an abattoir is allowed, as the abattoir is an end-point destination from where the animals will not be distributed. Take note that it is illegal to move animals out of an abattoir facility based on the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act No. 40 of 2000).
Can an auction proceed if a single farmer’s livestock is auctioned off, with no external animals added, but with multiple buyers?
Yes, this is allowed since the animals will come from a single origin. The single origin farm must also comply with the requirements of the Gazette notice. The seller must declare and be able to prove, through auditable records, that no new animals were introduced onto the farm of origin for 28 days prior to movement to the auction. No other animals may be added to the auction property during the period when the seller’s animals are there.
Sometimes feedlots select heifers to sell to other farmers, so there is a mix of animals at the feedlot and not all go for slaughter. How will this practise be affected by the prohibition?
Feedlots that sell animals to other farms will be breaking the law unless all animals in the feedlot originate from one source, or if all animals in the feedlot have been on the farm for 28 days, according to the conditions of Scenarios above.