cows in field

Recent Odairy Discussion, December, 2015

By Liz Bawden, Organic Dairy Farmer, NODPA President

Added December 15, 2015. A cow freshened with a hot, hard quarter and a temperature of 105.6. A vet on the list determined that this would be a coliform mastitis. He suggested that generally an animal can rebound from this with good care if just one quarter is affected. If two or more quarters are involved, the prognosis is not so good; the cow generally withers away over a week or two even with good care. Since only one quarter was involved, the following was suggested: Give Belladonna 30C hourly, many times, give IV Vitamin C (one 250cc bottle daily), give Flunixin to make her feel better, use one of the mint lotions on the affected quarter, give a strong garlic tincture (you can mix it with dextrose and give IV – 60 to 90 cc in 500cc dextrose), and give an antibody product like BoviSera (one 250cc bottle IV). It was also suggested to give probiotics as that will help with gut health and toxin elimination, and to keep stripping the quarter.
Confirmed cases of lungworm in one producer’s herd sent him to the list looking for alternatives to the use of a conventional parasiticide, which carries a 90-day withholding for milking animals. Some suggestions were ITM’s herbal Anti-parasite Powder at 1 Tbsp twice a day, or Black Walnut tincture at about 30 drops twice a day. Expectorants have to be added to help the cow cough up the dead worms – Elecampane or Thyme was recommended. There is a lungworm vaccine in Europe, but it is not available in the US, although one producer suggested that you could get it from Canada. Another vet suggested standing back and taking the long view that susceptibility to parasites is a reflection of the health of the animals in the herd. Animal density was mentioned as an issue, along with grazing wet areas. Another producer suggested that the damage to an animal’s lungs may be severe enough to warrant culling the serious cases, and treating only the cases that appear to be in the early stages.

A farmer asked the group if there was an approved treatment to heal pneumonia scars in cattle that would calm chronic and occasional coughing. A vet suggested an herbal approach and recommended Mullein, Horehound, Coltsfoot, and Japanese Knotweed (dried root). She also suggested small doses of Bloodroot tincture (10 drops twice a day).

A long discussion about one sick cow led to some good discussion about Staph aureus. One vet said she has had good results with a Chinese herbal product called Si Miao San from a company called Jing Tang in Reddick, Florida. Another producer reminded us that improving the immune system will eradicate much (if not all!) of the mastitis from the herd, so he suggested focusing on the minerals, producing highly mineralized feed from good soils, and increasing the biodiversity of pastures.

Cooler temperatures brought hordes of mice into one farmer’s barns. There were the usual suggestions about adding more cats to the staff and putting down traps. A vet recommended putting up nesting boxes for barn owls or sparrow hawks. If they are native to your region, they can consume great quantities of mice.

Liz farms with her husband and son in Hammond, NY. You can reach Liz by phone or email:

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