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Cattle Lice Control

Hair loss on your cattle is a good indication they have a lice problem. The bites cause itching and irritation, so cattle rub, lick, and chew on themselves. This can cause damage to fence posts and other items they rub on for relief.  Lice also affect performance.  When the cattle are rubbing and scratching, they’re not eating or resting, which can cost a-quarter-to-a-half-pound of gain per-day.

Larry Hawkins is a technical services veterinarian with Bayer Animal Health. He says when you’re applying a product to treat lice, don’t just quickly spread it on a small part of the animal’s back.

"There’s a species of louse that gets out on the nose, one that gets on the neck and the brisket and down between the front legs, and one that’s a body louse that covers the main area of the body," he says. "And if you think about where those lice are, if we put a spot in the middle of the back, that can be four-feet to the nose, therefore we aren’t getting those lice treated."

Lice are spread by animal-to-animal contact. Even with the proper treatment, they can still be a problem if untreated cattle are mingling with the treated animals.

"If we keep them separated, not by just one fence but by at least two fences apart, or a temporary fence to isolate the treated ones, then we’ll experience a long duration of good louse control with that treatment," says Hawkins.

Lice don’t like warm weather, so their numbers will decrease through spring and summer. However, once cooler temperatures are back, so are the lice.

Find more tips for lice control in cattle

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