Feed Lot

SEP-OCT 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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FEED•LOT  September/October 2017 7 techniques. Until the hospital crew is educated, he recommended con- sulting a veterinarian. Once a diagnosis of toe abscess is reached, Owen suggests nipping t he toe back with hoof nippers. " Sometimes you can see the puss or see gas escape via bubbles. Also look at the other foot. About half the time, there is a toe affected on the other side. Hoof testers will tell you what's going on," he said. Owen does not recommend us- ing a grinder. "We found it plugs up the ab- scess and doesn't let the foot drain. We've had the best luck with trim- ming the toes back, and then treat- ing with an antibiotic." Relief is often evident within hours if the case was caught early enough. If the infection spread to the bone and joint, treatment is of- ten not successful. "In the ones we see, about 40% end up as railers. The fall out rate is pretty high on these cattle, espe- cially if you're not watching for them," said Owen. Sometimes pen riders assume the lameness is a hip injury due to processing and will miss an early toe abscess. "Detecting them early is key." Prevention "We see it start at sale barns or receiving pens," said Owen. Facil- ities that use sand for traction, combined with wild cattle and han- dlers with sorting sticks are almost asking for a problem. "There are certain sale barns we've learned to stay away from. But others, we talk to them about the problems we have with their cat- tle, and most are receptive. They are using corn stalks for traction in- stead of sand, and they're slowing their guys down a little bit." Rubber mats where cattle enter the ring also help. The same principles apply at the feed yard. Proper cattle handling techniques and backing off a bit if cattle are nervous helps. "Give those cattle some space. In receiving or processing areas, add rubber mats and try to elimi- nate the corners cattle go around. Slipping and sliding around a cor- ner can damage the toe. You'll see a n outside toe affected, and often t he inside toe on the other side is too from rounding the corner too fast," Owen explained. Rough, frozen ground around feed bunks can also damage the toe. Owen advised to blade off sharp edges when possible in winter. Another prevention technique: refusing lame cattle. Although Owen said it's not popular, refusing t o accept lame cattle is an option f or purchasers. "We don't have a problem sending them back. They have such a high likelihood of being railers, and they darn sure are going to fall behind their pen mates." FL

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