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Bolus Battles Complexity

By: Dr. John Doerr, Ph.D., PAS, Dpl. ACAP

I confess.  I’m in a mood to do a bit of musing this morning.  Just read an interesting and important editorial: Dairy Herd Management, “Meat of the Matter: Disease – Thy Name is Complexity” by Dan Murphy, July 13, 2017.  He discusses false claims that meat consumption is the key to premature death in humans (go read it if you haven’t already).  That doesn’t have much to do with a Newsletter about a product for cattle consumption, but his article ends with the strong and logical conclusion that disease is virtually never about a single cause; an ‘inappropriate’ health response, e.g., disease, in our dairy herds is almost always the combination of many challenges working in concert.  But we often interpret what we see as ‘single cause’ and then wonder why our strategy to combat it doesn’t always work.  

Here’s an example or two.  Among other things, mold toxins cause reduced immune functionality and loose, inconsistent manure in dairy cows.  How many ways do you see ‘reduced immunity’ on your farm?  Full blown disease, bacterial or viral, requiring veterinary intervention?  A few head off feed for a while?  Rumination pattern changed or down?  How about somatic cell increase?  Take the last one.  A few cows pick up some low-grade Staph aureus.  Immune system kicks in but it’s not operating up to par.  So those additional white cells show up in SCC but the S. aureus is not resolved and the immune system tries harder.  And SCC goes up some more.  Who shall we blame, the bacteria that were around the whole time or the mold toxins that altered the cows’ ability to respond fully to that bacterial challenge? 

Or, loose manure.  Sure, you say, but what about a little acidosis, or perhaps some really rich pasture, or maybe I just fed a little too much grain too fast?  And, lately, my mycotoxin reports have been mostly very low to negative.  Again, is the real cause the grain or pasture or does some background of mixed, albeit low level, mycotoxins make some sensitive cows more prone to the digestive changes yielding loose manure?

Since you want to be proactive, you now have to resolve a small dilemma; little to no confirmed mycotoxins but some cows in the herd with these two issues.  Treat the whole herd? Or, go after those outlier cows?  I’m not going to presume to tell you which you should do, but most of you already have years of highly positive experiences going after select cows with BioFresh Bolus™.  That immune boost (yes, that will actually help offset low-level mycotoxins!) will bring those cows around; and when that manure begins to tighten up and those somatic cell counts come back down, you can enjoy a “wow” moment as you reorder boluses.  And now’s the time.   Through August there is a money-saving special on BioFresh Bolus™.  Ask your Select Sires representative.    And then you just might want to put the whole issue of mold toxins to rest with a regular program of either Select DTX (when you have regular, confirmed test results showing risk levels) or Select BioCycle™ (when toxin test results are low to absent).  Either way, you can start taking out some of those ‘multiple causes’ and get a better handle on herd health, productivity, and reproductive success.


A quick word from a happy customer:

“We’ve used BioFresh Boluses for over 6 years and nothing we have tried works better to get cows eating either after calving or upset stomachs. We give at least 2 boluses. I have seen these boluses given to almost dead cows and watched them start eating in a matter of hours.”

-Bill Evers – (Holstein)