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Common Pests that Prey on Livestock
Livestock, just like domestic animals, are vulnerable to pest infestations and disease. These pests cause misery and illness to the animals and jeopardize humans by contaminating the meat and affecting the bottom line for farmers. Routinely treating livestock against these infestations solves all the subsequent problems pests are known to cause. Have a pest control specialist come each year to make sure you are doing everything possible to protect yourself against common pests.
Flies are the most common problem for livestock around the country and torment these poor animals nearly year round. They thrive in warmer months and climates and can become even more aggressive in the fall months.
Horn flies prove to be worth the high cost of controlling them. They drain cattle of nearly a pint of blood per animal on a daily basis.
Heel flies cause the most discomfort to the animal and cost to consumers and farmers.
These pests secure their eggs to strands of fur and their larvae tunnel past the hide, muscle, and tissue, significantly damaging the hide as well as the meat.
Lice are most prevalent during the winter months and multiply and spread quickly throughout a herd. There are typically two kinds but they can be treated effectively with a small enough herd.
Since these lice feed on the shafts of hair and outer layer of skin, they usually cause skin reactions and loss of hair. This leads to cattle hurting themselves and destroying property in an attempt to relieve the severe irritation. These pests can also cause distress in individual cows and herds, and affect weight gain and milk production. Minimal or isolated infestation usually results in little to no measurable effects.
Sucking lice can also cause irritation, but unlike biting lice, they pierce the skin and consume blood. Severe infestation has been known to cause weakness and death.
All ticks are parasitic, but only one type is particularly harmful to cattle. The Spinose Ear Tick rarely causes death, but it is responsible for severe pain and significant damage. Cattle may suffer injury or destruction of the ear canal, tympanic membrane (separates the middle ear from the outer ear), or the otitis interna (close to the auditory tube) due to secondary bacterial infections.
Worms are another costly problem to farmers, usually in the hot summer months. They develop in the intestines and can spread through manure that is spread by rain. Cattle eat the larvae-contaminated grass, and the cycle starts all over again. This problem can be easily controlled by rotating fields used for grazing and administering de-wormer. Ample space, clean environment, and inspecting cattle new to the herd contribute greatly to monitoring what is going on with your herd. Regular inspections by a licensed veterinarian will be less costly than treating an entire herd for infestation or worse, disease, and damage to the cattle.