Tuesday, 7 June 2016


I have been noticing a few calves have developed warts recently.

What are warts?
Warts are unsightly skin growths caused by a virus and can be transmitted from one animal to another and it only affects cattle. The virus responsible for warts is papilloma virus. The growths often appear quickly and grow swiftly into rough-looking or smooth shaped mass.  They range from being small to being very large.  They mostly appear on the head, neck, shoulders, and opening of vagina, teats or penis of animal.

They can be quiet infectious. The virus may become a continual problem in a herd due to long incubation periods.  After the animal is infected, it can take about 2 months before the warts appear.  That is why it is hard to control.     

Warts can suddenly appear in a group of calves or weaners at once.  They mostly are common in calves because they have not developed immunity to the virus.  They crop up in places were the skin has been broken, allowing the virus to enter the deep layers of the skin.  They can also develop in ears after tagging, or any other body part where the skin is punctured or scraped.

The virus can be transmitted from one animal to another by instruments that puncture skin, needles, tagging and castrating tools. The virus is also transmitted by flies that feed on first one animal, than another.
The good news is that it is nothing serious.  The animal’s body need time to develop antibodies against the virus and build an immune defence against it.   As a result, the best treatment for warts is TIME.

It is also believed that farmers much pinch or scrap some warts with a plier.  In the process, blood vessels within the warts are ruptured.  The causative virus than enters the animal’s blood stream and immunity build-up happens faster.  The procedure is not very painful because warts do not have nerve endings.    

It is also important to isolate the animal when you first notice the warts. This is not much help, because of the long incubation periods, that animal may have infected others by the time the farmer notices the warts.

If the infection is very severe on your farm, than a vaccine should be administered.  You will need to sample the warts.  The warts get minced, the virus they contain is killed with formalin and then the mixture is filtered and put into a vaccine.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


I am excited to be going to the farm once more. What a blessing!  I have a lot on my agenda.  

I have really been trying to stick to my vaccination schedule  for the year. 

The rains have caused a delay with the immunization.  As a result, I am behind schedule.  It has been 5 weeks since I last immunized my herd.  I need to to boost a few animals this time around. That is with duovax for the calves aged 6 months and more.  I am also very late with the Brucellosis inoculations.  Because of that, its costing me more money in terms of which vaccine to use. Instead of the usual cheaper S19, I must used RB51.  So it hurts alot. 

I really do not believe in mixing vaccines.  Especially the live vaccines (against anthrax, botulism, blackleg and brucella).  I can however add a multi-vitamin injection to a live vaccine on the same day.  For dewormers, I am yet to try dectomax.  And again, I can also add a multi-vitamin to that or a trace elements (Virbac multimin)if I like.  I do not even mix more than one live vaccine and immunize on the same day.  When using a booster (live) vaccination, it is safe to use that with another live vaccine e.g Duovax (booster) and Brucella RB51 can be vaccinated on one day in my herd.

I am still experimenting. Making changes and seeing what works. 

Weaning & Body Condition Scoring (BCS)
Its time to wean and kick those calves of their mothers not at 8 months. In 2014 I have made mistakes.   It took me long to wean. And I am still feeling the effects of that.  The cows were under conditioned (BCS less than 5).  As a result, the cows were not able to re-breed quick enough and have long Inter calving periods (ICPs). The calves below are ready for weaning.

Lesson learned: A cow in good condition will re-breed quicker after birth. 

Record keeping
Ongoing! On going!  Tag the animals and record!

Until next time...