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Ask the Vets: Q & A
A NODPA Field Days Panel with Dr. Hubert Karreman and Dr. Cynthia Lankenau
moderated by NODPA President Liz Bawden.
This workshop session at the NODPA Field Days was very educational so we thought we’d print a summary from notes taken by Lisa McCrory.
Q: What’s the best treatment for a growth on a cow’s eye? The producer shared a photo of it.
A: The vets diagnosed the growth as a Squamous Cell Sarcoma – on the 3rd eyelid – and said the sooner the farmer can act on it, the better. Using an approved anesthetic and forceps, snip the growth off. It is important to get a clear cut. Delays in removing it will result in it growing larger, eventually covering the whole eye, and they will likely grow back. These are common in cattle with white hair around the eye.
Homeopathic treatments: Carcinosin –stimulates the cells to recognize cancer cells and attack them.
Chinese Herb formula (stasis breaker) – recommend buying through Mayway Chinese Herbs or Dr. Xie’s Jintang Herbal – using a reliable source that does not have contaminants is very important these days.
Q: What is the ideal amount of time for a calf to stay with its mother?
A: Dr. K: As long as the mother doesn’t have Johne’s, I recommend leaving the calf with its mother as long as possible, and would not wean calves any earlier than 3 months of age. A calf raised on a cow will eat 10-12 times a day, and the mother will kick the calf off at 7 months, according to one study. The cow increases in milk production until 90 days and then decreases, occurring at the same time that a calf would naturally be adding something else to their diet, thus needing less milk.
Dr. L: I agree with Hue; calves are smarter animals when they are with their moms, and a lot of metabolic diseases take place when they are stressed.
Q: Treatment recommendations for Calf Pneumonia?
A: Dr. L: If the lungs are solid, my most favorite herbal combinations are: Thyme, Eucalyptus leaves, Usnea (old man’s beard), and Blood Root. Homotoxicology products, such as those produced by Heel, can be put in the water for all affected calves. Also, Echinacea angustifolia can be used.
Dr. K: Dry bedding, fresh air, and high forage diets are the best preventatives. I suggest using an IBR PI3 intra nasal vaccine (like Inforce) for respiratory disease. It is effective even when an animal is showing signs of illness. Additional treatment options include the use of injectable antibodies (like Bovi-Sera) and Immunoboost. If the calves are inside and they are starting to cough and it is nice outside, then turn them outside and that may be all you need to do. Helpful herbs: garlic, ginseng, goldenseal, and berberis.
Q: Treatment for Scours in Cows and Scours in Calves?
A: Dr. K: For a cow – don’t feed anything but dry hay. They should start clearing up within 5 days. Calf scours – In first couple weeks it is either Roto or Corona virus. Get over it with lots of TLC and electrolytes. If they don’t improve, it is probably E. coli. Immunoboost is known to be very effective. Also, you can vaccinate first calf heifers, as they are springing, with Scour Guard 4KC. Chamomile and mallow are good for soothing the intestinal tract. If a very young calf is scouring, feed milk more often and alternate with electrolytes.
Dr. L: My favorite treatment for acute GI problems is a bulk powder product called ‘Early Comfort’ from the Kan Herb Company. It is specifically useful against really aggressive gram-negatives. It will get the scours under control within a few days. I also likes black walnut tincture for Coccidia; Golden seal (small amounts only), and Agrimony if you are seeing blood in the manure.
Q: Please explain ‘Happy Lines’
A: Dr. K: They are also known as “health stripes” on the healthy, shiny cow. They are related to essential fatty acids of the cows. They can be seen in totally confined CAFO’s as well as organic grazed herds and are based on good nutrition.
Q: Grass-fed Milk question
A: Dr. K: Energy is the absolute limiting factor.
Dr. L: Very few of my clients have stayed grass-fed; perhaps it is due to excessive use of Roundup and the sickness of the soil in her area. Once they try it, SCC goes up, immune system goes down. My farmer clients notice too much stress and stop before there is a real problem.
Q: If transitioning to grass-fed: what would be other challenges to look for?
A: Dr. K: Internal and external parasites. Calves are often forgotten about after they are weaned and go out in the same pasture year after year.
Q: Treatment for a Puncture in the hoof
A: Dr. K: Use Ledum and Hypericum (homeopathic) for punctures, Tetanus antitoxin shot would be the approach. Hydrogen peroxide – open up carefully and infuse with Hydrogen Peroxide.
Dr. L: Hypericum with Ledum, plus also an herb called Andrographis (used internally, it builds up the liver while doing its work) for contained infection. A Chinese herbal product called “supine joint’ can be used as a poultice to draw it out.
Q: Foot abscess have been seen on a number of cattle. Would this be nutrition related? Stones in lane? Especially as they seem to be recurring. MUNs are running 7 and 8. Also have some hairy heel warts.
A: Dr. K: White-hoofed animals (Holsteins) have more of these problems. Check that laneways are in good shape, and that there is a fine stone on top of sharp stones that rise up (NRCS). Zinpro products are useful for hoof health/nutrition. Address the walk ways and mineral nutrition
Dr. L: Homeopathic Graphites will strengthen the feet.
Other comments: As farmers are reducing grain, they are not necessarily increasing their mineral mixes in the small amount of grain that they feed. One producer described his use of Redmond’s mineral (conditioner), kelp and Redmond’s salt. Kelp is good for the soil microbes and good for stomach microbes, too. What goes out in the manure adds biology to the soil.
Q: Calving paralysis: what is the best thing to do?
A: Dr. L: Hypericum/Arnica – use Homeopathics right away for pain. Then use acupuncture to relieve pain so she can get up. Then use herbs: Solomon seal (works on the spinal stuff) – take the roots (if you harvest on your own always leave 3 plants). Also Mullein root and Stinging Nettle root. Grind up and feed to the cow or infuse. Pain control is first. Using Willow Bark itself is better than aspirin. Take some of the young branches and take the bark from the young branches.
Dr. K: Acupuncture, Arnica/Hypericum. To prevent it, when the calf’s head is out and the two legs are coming, make an ‘x ‘ with the front legs and turn so that the calf’s back bone is coming out at 11:00 or 1:00 to the cows backbone. You can use Banamine (Flunixin) – use early – keeps inflammation down. Aspirin is better for muscular-skeletal pain.
Follow-up: What should be the timing of homeopathic dosing? The more dynamic the disease, the more dynamic the dosing; and lower potencies respond faster but higher potencies have a longer effect.
Q: De-worming calves and older cows?
A: Dr. K: Run fecal samples, put under microscope. If you see fewer than 10 eggs per slide-no treatment is necessary. If 10-20 eggs are seen, do something. If more than 20 eggs per slide, treat with a parasiticide. Ferro is a clay leachate very high in iron, Mg, and other minerals. It constipates the calf quickly. Use 10 cc’s once a day for 8 days. It is intensely bitter, so cut with something sweet to make it palatable. Can use a Fenbendazole wormer (Safeguard crumbles) – though this must be determined by a vet that it is needed (in person or over the phone).
For 1st calf heifers, run fecal and check it out. You can also use Ivermectin. With the pastured pigs at the Rodale Institute Farm, they use wormwood, black walnut hulls, and garlic. Homeopathic products he would use include: Chenopodium, Santonitum and Antonitum – but with an animal who is loaded, would not turn to Homeopathy alone.
Dr. L: Black walnut is also a thyroid tonic, building up their immune system. For horses black walnut is toxic. ITN (Institute for Transformational Nutrition) makes anti-parasite powder.