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New cattle products for better health, better growth

Gene Johnston 02/02/2012 @ 11:00pm On the scene at the 2012 Cattle Convention, Nashville

More carcass weight

Zilmax is a new feed supplement from Merck Animal Health that allows animals to metabolize feed more efficiently. When fed for the last 20 days before slaughter (and allowing for a three-day withdrawal period), it will add about 30 pounds to hot carcass weight of steers, heifers, and cull cows. It does this by increasing feedlot performance, and enhancing carcass leanness. Merck has an unusual way of pricing Zilmax to producers: it varies from month to month, depending on the carcass price of finished beef. On the 23rd day of each month, the carcass price is determined from government reports, and that fixes the price of Zilmax for the following month. At current prices, it costs about $28 to feed it for 20 days prior to slaughter, and the 30-pound return in added carcass weight it worth about $58.  “Our goal is to give a consistent return to the cattle producer for using our product,” says Merck’s Mitch Johnson. www.zilmax.com

Long-acting BRD antibiotic

Zactran is a new long-acting antibiotic from Merial. The active ingredient is gamithromycin. It is labeled to treat active bovine respiratory disease (BRD), or to control the disease in cattle that are at high risk. In addition to its effectiveness, there are two things that stand out about the product, says Merial veterinary services manager Bruce Nosky. First, when it is given subcutaneously at the dosage of 2 cc per 110 lbs. of body weight, it is reaching lung tissue within 30 minutes. “It gets in the blood stream really fast, and leaves the blood stream to get to impacted tissue really fast,” says Nosky. “Zactran accumulates in white blood cells, and when you have a lung infection, those white blood cells carry Zactran right to where you want it. It’s there fighting infection for several days. When white blood cells die, the drug is released.” That speaks to the second point about Zactran: One injection can last for 10 days. “Treat once, then back off of the animal and drug is fighting infection for 10 days,” says Nosky. When used on new arrivals at a feed yard that were high risk for BRD, incidence of the disease was reduced from 80% to about 20%. It’s a prescription drug, so a veterinarian has to prescribe it, and price is dependent on location and volume (comes in 100-ml, 250-ml, and 500-ml bottles).  www.merial.com

More BRD help

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