How to Prevent Grass Tetany

 

The snow might be flying throughout much of the country, but it won’t be long before cattle producers are thinking about turning pairs out to pasture. Although that lush green grass seems appealing, there are hidden concerns that producers need to remember when turning out their cows.

One of those concerns is grass tetany. Kevin Glaubius, Director of Nutrition at BioZyme® Inc., took time to answer a few questions about grass tetany to help producers prepare for spring and early summer grazing.

  1. What is grass tetany? How is it caused and what are the symptoms?

Grass tetany is also called grass staggers because when cattle become susceptible they start to stagger around and will go down on their side. One of the first symptoms is general lack of coordination.

Most producers think of tetany as a magnesium deficiency, because feed companies use magnesium to prevent occurrence, but really it is excessive intake of potassium. Potassium and magnesium compete for the same absorption pathway. Think of it like a funnel where three potassium marbles are trying to get through the funnel the same time as one magnesium marble. Since the percentage of potassium marbles is greater, that nutrient is more likely to go down the funnel and get absorbed before the magnesium does.

Tetany typically occurs in older animals rather than younger animals because of an inability to mobilize the magnesium from the bones. Mature cows will show signs long before a young calf.

 

  1. Is there a time of year it is most prevalent? Is grass tetany found in every region or does it confine itself to one geographic area?

Most of the time tetany will happen when cattle are on lush forages. While transitioning from winter to spring, nutrients, including potassium, are being pumped up from ground through the roots to support plant growth. When we have a few weeks of warm weather, those nutrients get pumped up to the plant that is above ground, actively growing. But if a cold snap or cool weather sets in, growth pauses but those nutrients remain in the plant. With those warm weather/cold weather cycles, the potassium levels can potentially become twice the amount they normally are, leading to tetany challenges when you turn your cows out around May 1.

Since tetany is a nutritional issue, it isn’t isolated to just the spring and summer when we turn cattle out to grass; It can also happen while feeding hay. In that case, we have what might be referred to as “winter tetany” or “wheat pasture poisoning” when cattle are fed harvested winter feeds that are high in potassium.

Most of the country doesn’t have problems with it in the fall. However, it can be an issue especially if producers fall fertilize.

Tetany is a global issue and impacts all ruminants who have an improper potassium:magnesium ratio.

 

  1. What are the best ways to prevent grass tetany?

There is no perfect mineral for preventing grass tetany. If you have extremely high potassium level, it is important to realize that a higher percentage of magnesium doesn’t always mean it is better. Magnesium isn’t palatable, and cows will likely walk away from straight magnesium or minerals with slightly higher levels of magnesium.

Start increasing magnesium levels about two weeks before turning out to pasture so you can gauge how much the cow might eat when she is turned out on grass. Remove all other sources of salt so that forces the cows to get salt from the mineral if the bitterness of higher magnesium restricts intake to less than the restricted amounts.

Feeding a high mag mineral during the high-risk periods such as spring and fall when the growing season can easily be disrupted will prevent the vast majority of issues.

  1. If an animal is diagnosed with grass tetany, how is it best treated?

Remember to check your cattle regularly when they are first turned out to new, green grass. Grass tetany is treatable if it is caught early enough. Call your veterinarian at the first signs of any tetany. The vet will typically provide an intravenous solution of calcium, magnesium and glucose to get the cow back on her feet. Timing is critical, though as cows will likely die if not treated within 4-8 hours after onset.

The key to preventing tetany is to provide the proper amounts of all nutrients, Glaubius said. If you can keep your magnesium to potassium ratio in check, your cows should enjoy grazing green grass and keep healthy. BioZyme offers several supplements in its VitaFerm® product line that are enhanced with magnesium to help prevent the onset of tetany including VitaFerm Concept•Aid® Mag/S. And VitaFerm Cow-Calf Mag Mineral. To learn more about these and other VitaFerm Products, visit: http://vitaferm.com/all-products.

 

Keep your Canine Companions Healthy: Give them the Amaferm® Advantage

Man’s best friend, the dog, has become a more integral part of most of our everyday lives. As veterinary care and technology evolves, dogs are living longer, healthier lives. As dog owners and lovers, we can help support this healthy lifestyle by providing adequate nutritional and digestive support.

Dogs are monogastrics, but unlike pigs and humans, are primarily carnivorous. In order to digest animal fats and proteins quickly and efficiently, dogs have short, acidic digestive tracts. Compared to other animals, dogs release a higher amount of hydrochloric acid, which aids in the breakdown of proteins and helps kill off any bacteria that could be found on raw meat. They also digest their food more quickly than animals that are herbivorous because plant material takes longer to break down. A longer digestive process is also associated with a longer digest tract. Therefore, dogs have a very short digestive tract compared to many other animals.

When your dog’s digestive system is functioning properly, the typical meal takes between 6 and 9 hours to pass through the digestive tract. In comparison, the entire digestive process in a cow generally takes more than 24 hours. During this time, the food is reduced into basic nutrients that the dog can absorb and utilize. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, fats into fatty acids, and proteins into amino acids, all which work to keep your dog looking and feeling healthy.

Common threats to healthy digestion in dogs include eating inappropriate foods or garbage, abrupt changes of diet, intestinal parasites, food allergies, infections, and viruses. When your dog’s digestive system is not functioning properly, the result may be gas, diarrhea or vomiting. For some dog owners, perhaps the most common cause of digestive upset is consumption of inappropriate items such as garbage, manure or hoof clippings.

Whatever the cause, Amaferm® helps smooth digestion by stimulating microbial enzyme production in the dog’s small intestine. These enzymes help break down food so it can be better utilized by the body. In addition to improving digestion, Amaferm also helps maximize the absorptive capacity of the gut. Several trials in conjunction with kennels, pet food manufacturers, and veterinarians have shown the benefit of Amaferm in increasing digestion and absorption of food and reducing nutrients left in fecal matter. Better digestion and absorption of food means healthier dogs with less digestive upset and less waste!

Why Appetite Is Important To Your Livestock

Management is key to your success with show animals. But management refers to more than just skin and hair care or having the latest and greatest in equipment and products. The heart of good management starts with a sound nutrition program and feeding your animals correctly to maximize their look.

“If your animal’s appetite is out of whack, they won’t gain as efficiently as their genetics would lead you to believe they should,” said Britney Creamer, BioZyme® Inc., Area Sales Manager. “This will result in not only lower average daily gains than you desire, but a dull look to their hair and skin, dull look to their eyes and even a more lethargic acting animal.”

Appetite goes beyond your animal cleaning up at the feeder; it is the core to your animal’s success. At Sure Champ, BioZyme’s show livestock brand, we say this about show animals, “if they aren’t eating, you aren’t winning.” There is a lot of truth to that, as livestock, regardless of species, need to get a proper amount of feed and water to maximize performance – growth, soundness, muscling, and have the proper show ring “look.”

One of the best ways to keep your show animals eating and drinking is to start with a sound nutrition program that focuses on a fortified feed and keeps their gut health in check. Most nationally-branded show feed lines do a great job providing quality, fortified feed options. Additionally, there are many additives out there for every enhancement possible – muscle growth, soundness, hair quality, leanness, freshness – however, if their gut isn’t working properly and absorbing nutrients, and/or they aren’t eating, none of those other additives really matter. Another important part of their diet is to keep it consistent, and not change their feed or add something new to it each day.

“We need to focus on the fact that if an animal’s gut isn’t working properly feeding all the additional additives is just like rolling down the window on the interstate and throwing money out! In order for feed and additives to do as they are designed to do, the gut of your animal must have the ability to digest and absorb those products and feeds effectively. One way to insure this is happening is by adding Amaferm® through a product such as Sure Champ® Cattle or Sure Champ Spark®,” Creamer said.

Sure Champ Cattle includes Amaferm, a natural prebiotic designed to maximize the nutritional value of feed. It is research-proven to increase water and feed intake, both in grain and forage-based diets. In addition, research shows that Amaferm decreases body temperature in heat-stressed animals. Sure Champ Cattle is a pelleted, daily vitamin and mineral supplement that can be top-dressed or mixed into any feed ration.

Another product available and ideal for small species including sheep, goats and pigs is Sure Champ Spark. Spark is a pelleted, daily supplement that will enhance the nutritional value of your feed ration by increasing absorption and keeping the animal healthy. In addition to Amaferm, it includes MOS to trap bad bacteria, limiting their ability to do harm to digestive health and intake.

“These Sure Champ products work to keep your animal healthy, and a healthy animal is one that won’t shy away from the feed bunk, water trough or bucket,” Creamer said.

Amaferm Advantage Keeps Cattle Healthy and Mediates Antibiotic Use

Prevention is the key to good health in your cow herd. Your herd health protocol should include both a sound nutrition program and good vaccination program. A significant component to a good nutrition program is a quality mineral package that works to keep the digestive system in check.

Taking a proactive approach to your nutrition protocols starts with providing balanced nutrients that your cattle need. Offering a product like a Vita Charge® Stress Tub or another VitaFerm® mineral product with the Amaferm® advantage will help your cattle stay healthy, productive and performing. Amaferm is a natural prebiotic designed to maximize the nutritional value of feed, increasing the intake, absorption and digestibility of nutrients.

Even with a sound nutrition program and proper vaccinations, chances are you will have a few head that get sick and will need to be treated. When treating cattle with antibiotics it is more important than ever to make sure they have Amaferm in their diets. Amaferm works with the antibiotics and helps mediate their negative effects on the digestive system, making sure your cattle get healthy and keep eating.

One often forgotten side effect of antibiotic use is the potential negative effect on the beneficial microbial population residing in the digestive system. A common side effect of prolonged antibiotic treatment is a reduction or slowing of the growth rate of these important microbes. Amaferm is research-proven to combat stress by supporting the animal’s own immune system, significantly increasing intake and nutrient utilization. Research shows that Amaferm helps support increased numbers of rumen bacteria and helps maintain a diverse population in terms of species, which is fundamental to a healthy animal.

Kevin Glaubius, director of nutrition for BioZyme®, offers some key takeaways from a Kansas State University Amaferm and antibiotic trial. Although the effects of the Amaferm were dependent on the antibiotic used and the species of bacteria that were studied, Amaferm did have positive impact on the antibiotics commonly used to treat sickness. This occurred by allowing the growth rates of important species of rumen bacteria to more closely resemble the growth rates of bacteria in the non-antibiotic controls.

“Some of the antibiotics we looked at in the study stopped growth of some of the microorganisms that aid in digestion, which could have a negative effect in the overall performance of the animal,” Glaubius said.

If you do have to treat a sick animal with an antibiotic, consider giving it a dose of Vita Charge Paste or Vita Charge Drench in conjunction with treating it. The Amaferm in the Vita Charge will help alleviate stress and keep the animal eating while it heals.

Stress Relief Found in Small Packs

Every Animal is Bound to Have a Bad Day

Stress management is a crucial part of any productive operation. When your livestock are stressed, there can be profound negative consequences on overall herd health and efficiency. Without proper management, not only will the animal’s well-being be compromised, but also the producer’s bottom line. Therefore, swift and effective management decisions are crucial to keep long-term effects of stress at bay. BioZyme® is dedicated to offering a line of products that can help producers protect their livestock from stress or aid them in recovery from those stressors.

So what causes stress in livestock? Any internal or external environmental stimulus that is outside of an animal’s “normal” routine can trigger a stress response. Many common stressors in production agriculture and performance animals include: parturition, weaning, severe weather extremes, transporting, significant diet changes, sickness or spending time on the show road. These stressors can disrupt normal metabolic functions, inhibit normal hormone responses or even impact animal product quality and safety. Management of stress in livestock is achieved through the controlling of the cause of stress and management of the effects of stress. Both can involve nutrition.

Although many stressors, such as weaning, can’t be eliminated, BioZyme’s Vita Charge® brand and select Vitalize® products help producers become better equipped to handle stress through enhanced nutrition. These products have made such a large impact for the simple fact… THEY WORK! Here are the main reasons why you should incorporate Vita Charge and Vitalize products as an integral part of your business.


The Nutritional Value

BioZyme’s small pack products contain powerful doses of vitamins, trace minerals and the Amaferm® advantage. These nutrients are advantageous in stressful times when livestock need protection or assistance in recovery.  When an animal is stressed, trace mineral and vitamin requirements are elevated. When these requirements aren’t met, animals tend to show the effects of stress by going off feed, showing poor conversion or even falling ill. Vitamins, specifically B vitamins, found in the Vita Charge and Vitalize products encourage improved feed intake; while Amaferm® helps multiply good bacteria present in the digestive system. In addition to vitamins and Amaferm, Vita Charge Liquid Boost® and Stress Tubs contain MOS. MOS is a feed additive derived from a specific strain of yeast and promotes increased animal performance through improved gastrointestinal health and integrity. MOS binds to pathogens, such as E. coli and Salmonella (bacterial causes of scours), and keeps them from attaching to the animal’s digestive tract and causing sickness and decreased performance.

Rapid Response

Because of the synergistic relationship that exists between the vitamin and mineral fortification and Amaferm, customers see a very rapid response in terms of intake and recovery from stressful events. This is due in large to the fact that vitamin and trace minerals have a profound impact on immune function, and Amaferm improves digestibility and nutrient absorption. In other words, animals can absorb more of the nutrients they need most during stress. Up to 70% of an animal’s immunity lies within the digestive tract. Therefore, when an animal feels good on the inside, they look good on the outside!

Regardless of the size and scope of an operation,
there will always be a period of time where livestock (or even companion animals) will endure some sort of stress. But when you combine high quality nutritional products that are easy to use and have a rapid response rate; it’s a no brainer to recommend these products first to potential customers. These products are the quickest way to prove to someone the benefit of Amaferm and the importance of proper nutrition at the right time, as well as the easiest approach to insuring a long-term customer that will incorporate multiple BioZyme products into their feeding regimen.

Transitioning Around Stress

Before, during and after stress there are transition periods. Things may seem normal and smooth sailing, but we all know that gradual or sudden changes are going to occur that will challenge an animal’s health and/or performance. And, after the challenge there is a period of recovery that we need to manage. Stress management can be summed up as two P’s and an R: Prediction, Prevention, and Recovery.

Prediction

If you know stress is coming, your management system should try to reduce or eliminate its effects ahead of time. An example of predicting a stress is knowing that you are going to transport, wean or work animals. If we know when animals will be moved, we can prepare not only the animals but also our equipment. Equipment should have a maintenance schedule. Changing oil, checking tires and filling with fuel are all items we should check off our “to do” list. And, we should have a “to do” list for our animals as well. Making sure they are well rested, well fed, comfortable and protected from injury will reduce stress.

Prevention

Feeding programs that take advantage of feeding Amaferm® daily will help animals combat stress, whether it is predicted or unexpected. Animals that have been supplied a balanced diet have the building blocks available to grow, mount an immune response and have the best chances of meeting any stress challenge that can come their way.

Amaferm has several key impacts on animal nutrition. First, it influences INTAKE. Healthy, stress-free animals eat and drink normal amounts at regular intervals. One of the first signs an animal is experiencing stress is they go “off feed” and change their eating patterns and reduce their intakes. Amaferm has been shown to modulate feed intake and increase water intake which will stabilize and increase the efficiency of the GI tract. Amaferm will also improve DIGESTIBILITY. When diets are being efficiently broken down into nutrients, the health of the animal shines through with outward signs of thrift and well-being. Animals properly digesting their food have shiny hair coats, bright eyes, show signs of happiness and display vigor. Finally, Amaferm assists with nutrient ABSORPTION. Nutrients are only effective when they are absorbed and transported throughout the body. These three items: intake, digestibility and absorption make Amaferm one of the most beneficial components of an animals diet.

All BioZyme products contain Amaferm and aid in stress prevention when used as part of daily feeding program. The Sure Champ® line of products is ideal for helping exhibitors develop a stress preventive program through proper nutrition. Climate Control® is one of BioZyme®’s newest commitments to aid in heat stress prevention. VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® and HEAT® minerals help cow-calf operations prevent and prepare their herds to reach performance goals and take optimum advantage of their feed resources. The Gain Smart® mineral line is ideal for growing and keeping young cattle healthy.

Recovery

Recovery management after a stress event is also a very important part of animal care giving. Stimulating the gut’s microflora make animals stronger, healthier, and ready to perform at their best. That is the number one reason why implementing recovery programs as quickly as possible are vital to the animal. BioZyme has developed a full line of Vita Charge® products specifically for stress recovery. Using Vita Charge products as quickly as possible after the stress will shorten the time it takes for the animals to get back to normal. Our newest product in this line, Vita Charge® Neonatal, designed for young calves, is being used by operations to grow stronger, healthier animals.

The mission of BioZyme focuses on making animals perform at their best. Using Amaferm is one of the easiest and most cost-effective management decisions producers can invest in to help their animals recover from stress.

Reproductive Success

Reproduction is the most influential factor on beef cattle profitability. Since reproduction is a lowly heritable trait, environment plays a huge role. Environmental factors that have been proven to increase conception are: energy consumption and body condition score, protein consumption (both as a protein requirement and as improving energy status via rumen fermentation), mineral  and trace mineral status, and body temperature (fever has been shown to increase embryonic fatality).

Most cow-calf producers sell calves at or shortly after weaning. This management system places emphasis not only on the number of calves born and raised to weaning age, but also the weight of the weaned calves. Calf nutrition is a major influence on weaning weight. Dam milk production, calf health and forage consumption are that major sources of nutrients for calves.  Calves have nearly twice the protein requirement as their parents on a percent of diet basis. This requirement along with energy greatly influence the selling weight of calves.

Amaferm®, a natural prebiotic obtained from the proprietary fermentation of Aspergillus oryzae, has been shown to have positive effects on intake, digestibility and nutrient absorption. Amaferm’s mode of action has been shown to increase the feed particle attachment sites for rumen bacteria, enhance the growth of rumen fungi and bacteria, to increase the digestibility of a wide variety feedstuffs into energy and microbial proteins along with increasing nutrient absorption. In addition, documentation indicates that Amaferm reduces rectal temperature of cows during the hottest months of the year that coincide with normal breeding months of spring-calving cows.

Testimonials from cow-calf producers indicate high conception rates and earlier breed-up dates when cowherds are maintained on VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® containing Amaferm, high levels of organic trace minerals, and adequate phosphorus. Despite the amazing number of testimonials, data to support their anecdotal responses has not been collected.

This summer we conducted a Reproductive Success data benchmark study. The project was directed by Dr. Twig Marston with the help of summer research intern Mason DeVooght. They collected reproductive and weaning weight data from customers who feed the Concept•Aid products. The data will be compiled into an online database that will allow us to prove the advantage of feeding Concept•Aid with the Amaferm advantage. Using this data, we will be able to assist our customers in making better management decisions as well as identifying factors that will enable us to further develop the Concept•Aid product line.

If you have a customer that you would like to see included in this study, please reach out to your ASM to participate.

Manage, Reduce Stress in Show Stock with Proper Nutrition

Stress is one of the biggest culprits our animals face. In typical production agriculture, we wean our livestock from their mamas and transition them to a feeding program. We poke and prod our animals as part of a vaccination program, and we sometimes totally change their environment while expecting them to gain weight and muscle or reproduce under those stressful situations.

Combine the above mentioned stressors with daily exercise and hair and skin conditioning while hauling animals to a weekly show, and all that stress is likely to equal an animal that goes off feed, looks and acts dehydrated and doesn’t always act or look show ring ready.

Nutritional capabilities play a huge role in keeping your animals healthy and reducing the stress in their lives. It is vital to not overlook your animals’ nutritional needs because a lot of their stress symptoms are triggered in their gut. A healthy gut will help your animal stay healthy and also plays a role in keeping their immune system strong and functioning.

Another challenge that show animals encounter is looking the part of a show animal once they hit the show ring. Since muscle is 70-percent water, and so many animals shrink up or lose their fill when they are hauled, it is so important to keep them hydrated when they go to the show. That is where Amaferm® plays a big role in boosting the animal’s appetite while increasing their desire to drink.

Blaine Rodgers, Show Livestock Business Development & Field Support, offers suggestions on reducing stress in show livestock while using BioZyme® products.

Sure Champ® and Sure Champ® Spark
These products are available for all species and should be included in the animal diet daily. They both will help boost appetite, making sure the animal is eating and gaining.

Vita Charge® Liquid Boost®
Rodgers suggests introducing this into your animals’ water 2-5 days prior to leaving for a show, and then continuing to include it in their water while at the show. Liquid Boost has a flavoring to it the animals like, and will often mask the chlorine taste of city water that is found at most fairgrounds. Rodgers also said it is a good way to teach your animals to drink out of a bucket before you go to a show since most animals are used to a water tank or trough, or pigs would be accustomed to a watering system. Introducing the water bucket to them at home is just one more way to reduce stress once you’ve arrived at the show.

Vita Charge Paste
Since it is so important for your animals to have a good show ring appearance, the Vita Charge Paste is another way to add Amaferm to their diets and help boost the animal’s desire to eat and drink. Rodgers said that the more water animals drink, the more their metabolism will increase, encouraging their appetites. The water also adds to their muscle shape and overall mass, giving the appearance exhibitors are looking for in the show ring.

Sure Champ Climate Control Paste
The newest product to the Sure Champ line up is the most important in combatting heat stress. The paste contains Capsaicin, which naturally lowers body heat. This product will be extra helpful for those animals used to a climate-controlled barn that might have to haul a long distance or that will be housed in a non-climate controlled facility for a week, like at a junior nationals. Rodgers suggests giving this daily just prior to and while at a show.

Getting the Word Out
As the summer show season approaches, it is good for dealers and their staff to brush up on the information about the products designed specifically for show animals. Make a display of the products close to the cash register to help strike up a conversation and help make a sale.

It is important to remind your customers how each of the products work together, and that some products are designed for daily use while others are used to combat extra stress at the shows. Perhaps you want to offer a promotion where you couple the products; buy so much Sure Champ and get a discount on a tube of Climate Control or Vita Charge Paste.

Finally, if your younger customers show primarily at the local shows, you might want to work with the BioZyme Marketing Team to create a post card to send to your customers promoting that our products are the safe way to increase appetites and maximize gains.

From the time your animals hit the ground from their mothers’ womb, they start experiencing stress. But as a show animal, you can help alleviate some of that unnecessary stress by making sure their nutritional needs are met. The Amaferm advantage is a great way to maximize the nutritional value of their feed, while keeping them healthy.

VitaFerm Fly Control Options

One of the greatest advantages that cattlemen still have is being able to select the management practices that work best for their situation. It has always been important to BioZyme® that we offer products that can be used by a wide array of cattlemen to fit their specific production needs. As spring approaches, and you begin to think about your fly control needs, BioZyme offers several different VitaFerm® mineral products.

Altosid® IGR Feed-Thru is a popular option to prevent the breeding of horn flies in the manure of treated cattle. However, for this product to be most effective, it should be used 30 days prior to the last frost. Often our team will hear from producers that are still seeing flies when using IGR. You must remember that IGR is for the management of horn flies and you may be seeing other fly species. Also, it is extremely important that mineral intake is at the appropriate level in order for that cow to get the correct amount of IGR.

BioZyme offers mineral options with fly control in both the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® and VitaFerm® HEAT product lines. Both of these mineral lines contain organic chelated minerals, and Amaferm®, a natural prebiotic that increases digestibility, however these two brands target different production phases.

VitaFerm Concept•Aid is designed to be fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. VitaFerm Concept•Aid 5/S AUREO 3G IGR and VitaFerm Concept•Aid 5/S IGR both contain IGR to prevent the breeding of horn flies in the manure of treated cattle. It should be noted though, that the former product does contain AUREO 3G (CTC), which requires a VFD through your veterinarian. Now is the time to talk with your veterinarian and local feed store to ensure you can work this product into your management program. For more details on the benefits of IGR and the improvements in gain and profit, visit www.vitaferm.com/successful-horn-fly-control-using-igr/. Research has shown that the irritation and reduced milk intake from horn fly infestation can cause 20-25 pounds lower weaning weights as compared to cows treated with Altosid® IGR.

If you are looking to steer clear of a VFD or interested in a natural fly control product, we recommend our VitaFerm HEAT products. VitaFerm HEAT reduces heat stress during temperatures of 70 degrees and above, or anytime cattle are grazing fescue. From a fly control standpoint, VitaFerm HEAT includes garlic, a natural insect repellent. With this product, you will still see flies and insects hovering around your cattle, but they will not be making contact with their hide. For those producers interested in using garlic as a fly control option but are still needing a product with CTC for Anaplasmosis, we offer VitaFerm® HEAT AUREO 3G, however, it does require a VFD through your veterinarian.

Regardless of the route you choose, combining a fly control product with Amaferm will ensure that your cattle see maximum performance and gains during spring and summer grazing season.

Tips to Reduce and Handle Heat in Your Stock

Warmer temperatures are quickly approaching, and that means producers should start considering how to help their animals handle the heat. Heat stress is almost inevitable, but some management practices can be implemented to help animals better cope with rising temperatures.

All mammals regulate their internal body temperature involuntarily. Heat stress occurs when the animal’s ability to self-regulate and lower core body temperature is overwhelmed and the animal’s performance and/or health is compromised.

Signs of heat stress:

  • Bunching in the shade
  • Excessive salivation
  • Foam around the mouth
  • Panting
  • Lack of coordination or trembling

Effects of heat stress:

  • Reduced feed intake and weight gain
  • Poor breeding efficiency
  • Lower milk production
  • Increased disease susceptibility
  • Death in severe cases

Being proactive is the best approach to helping animals deal with heat stress. Having a solid management plan in place to combat heat stress could play a crucial role in an operation’s ability to maintain animal performance during periods of increased heat. Some management options include:

Shade: Temperature can be lowered by providing areas where animals can get out of direct sunlight.

Improved ventilation: Providing fans or allowing for adequate air movement helps alleviate heat stress.

Clean, cool drinking water: Water is necessary to keep the animal’s core body temperature within normal limits. Providing cool water will also help cool the animal’s core.

Wetting: Gradually wetting an animal with cool water from sprinklers or hoses is an effective way to cool an animal suffering from heat stress. Wetting the ground can also cool the area where animals lay and reduce the effects of heat stress.

Timing of feeding: By moving the animal’s feeding time to late afternoon or evening will allow rumen fermentation (which creates heat) to take place during cooler temperatures.

It is nothing new that BioZyme® is committed to improving the well-being of animals through nutrition. To help our customers better manage heat stress within their herds, we have developed two products that specifically address heat abatement; VitaFerm® HEAT and Sure Champ® Climate Control Paste. These products contain an extract that helps livestock handle heat stress by lowering core body temperature in a safe, fast, and natural way. Not to mention, the Amaferm® advantage found in both these products is research-proven to lower body temperature.