Monday, December 7, 2015

A Dab of This and a Little of That

I'm usually the one stirring up recipes in our family. But Randy has been the "chef" in one of our most frequently-mixed recipes on the County Line the past couple of weeks. 

Before the veterinarian came for working calves and doing pregnancy checks on our cows, a neighbor said his cattle had tested positive for anaplasmosis. Some of the neighbor's cattle looked ill. Our cattle had been in a nearby pasture. So, while our cattle weren't showing any symptoms, Randy  asked Dr. Dick to do blood tests on a representative number of our herd.
While the cows were in the chute, Dr. Dick gathered a blood sample from under their tails to test for the disease.
The tests came back from the lab as positive for anaplasmosis. Greg Hanzilcek, the head of the Kansas State University Diagnostic Lab, said in a Kansas Livestock Association newsletter that there are as many confirmed cases of anaplasmosis in Kansas cattle this year as veterinarians had ever seen.

Anaplasmosis is a a vector-borne disease, which means it's transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. It causes the destruction of red blood cells in cattle and other ruminants, so it can cause anemia. It can ultimately cause death, and it can also result in spontaneous abortions in cows.

Thankfully, we saw none of the signs of the disease in our cattle. However, we did have a young bull die inexplicably this summer. It's possible anaplasmosis was the cause, though we will never know for sure since its carcass wasn't tested.

There's a "recipe" to treat the disease. With the veterinarian's advice, Randy has been mixing a concoction. He combines grain ...
and mineral ...
 ... along with  a feed-grade antibiotic.
He weighed each part out (as instructed by the veterinarian) and mixed it in a large tub.
Then we put it in feeders at each of the locations where we have cows this winter.
He will feed the ration once a week for 60 days.
He also is feeding it to the bulls.
Animal activists - and even trendy restaurants - would like antibiotic use to be banned in feed animals. However, as caretakers of our animals, it's important to treat disease, just like we'd treat an illness in our own families.

It's an extra hit on the pocketbook, since it requires us to purchase additional grain, mineral and medicine. We're definitely not doing it for our own health or the health of our financial bottom line.
But it's important to be responsible stewards of the animals, despite what several national restaurants' marketing firm would have consumers believe.


  1. Kim,
    Glad you are getting the anaplasmosis under control. Sounds kind of scary.

    Great job ag-vocating the importance of animal health and the responsible use of antibiotics. I love the pictures of Ranch measuring out all the "ingredients."

    1. Of course, the masses never see this. They just hear the "news" from the latest restaurant chain (who shall remain nameless here).