It’s been a particularly bad Facial Eczema (FE) season for dairy farmers across the North Island and now that the worst is almost over you might be left thinking what now? It is estimated that for every cow with clinical FE, another 10 cows will have subclinical symptoms, including reduced milk production and damage to the liver.
So what should you expect going forward and what are some practical steps to reduce further production and stock losses?
If you’ve stopped other trace mineral supplementation while treating with zinc (highly recommended), now is the time to start it up again. By now your stock may not have received any other trace elements for 2 months or so, and although they may not be visible, the effects of this will be beginning to take hold.
A further complication is that zinc therapy induces a secondary copper deficiency, the symptoms of which can include increased somatic cell counts and clinical mastitis, reduced growth rates in young stock and decreased fertility. Restoring copper levels post-treatment is imperative and supplementing with a customized trace mineral blend will ensure copper levels are gradually restored and unwanted side effects of copper insufficiency are minimized.
The liver has great powers of regeneration. There are plenty of dubious brews and potions that claim to assist this process but in the end just taking care of these animals with good levels of feed will deliver the best result.
The greatest stress on the liver is over calving. Liver function is typically compromised even in healthy animals over this time. Cows going down pre-calve and cows losing condition really fast immediately post calving will be common outcomes. The pre-calving downer is a real problem and an early decision on this cow is essential to prevent a lingering issue. A blood sample to assess liver function will assist the decision.
As there is no cure for FE, prevention through risk management is key to protecting your stock. If you have any queries around facial eczema and the health of your stock give Mineral Systems a call now:
Free call: 0800 765 854.
For more information of facial eczema read these articles:
Is Your Facial Eczema Treatment as Effective as it Could Be?