Bull Breeding Soundness Exam

Spring is fast approaching and the breeding season is right around the corner. In order to ensure a successful breeding season, a bull breeding soundness exam (BSE) is essential. Most bulls are capable of breeding cows, however, some may be “sub-fertile” resulting in more open cows at pregnancy check and a longer calving window. We recommend a BSE every year prior to breeding season as approximately 10-20% of bulls will not be suitable for breeding.

Breeding soundness exams include:

Complete physical exam
Extensive reproductive exam
Semen quality evaluation

Using our state of the art cattle handling facility, we can perform this test in a safe and convenient working environment for both the bull and the veterinarian at no additional charge.

Don’t Let Your Herd Take a Step Backwards Due to Lameness

Most beef cows in the U.S. never see a hoof trimmer, nor do they need one. Our beef cows have been naturally selected for great feet and legs and don’t require much maintenance. Cattle on pasture have the ideal substrate to walk on: forgiving topsoil with adequate moisture, cushion, and minimal abrasiveness. This combination eliminates most of the common hoof health issues, but some problems can still arise. Common hoof issues are overgrown toes, twisted claws, sinking heels, hairy heel warts, sand cracks, and traumatic injury. If not dealt with in a timely manner, the problems can lead to severe lameness, pain, musculo-skeletal injuries, and production losses.

We suggest that you observe your herd at least twice a year to assess hoof health. This can be done in the spring before turning cattle out to pasture and in the fall when cattle are brought up for chute work. Identifying hoof issues early makes treating the problem easier and allows the animal to return to being sound.

Extra attention should be given to your herd bulls before turnout. Bulls are large and place an extreme amount of pressure on their hooves when jumping and landing. Most of the hoof issues in bulls are abscesses and ulcers in the claws. These lesions are due to imbalanced claws and repetitive concussive forces. The treatment for these conditions are corrective trimming and stall rest, which may take them out of the pasture for the remainder of the breeding season.

ProHeart 12 for heartworm disease prevention

One Dose.  Once a Year.
LVC is proud to now offer ProHeart 12 to our patients as a new option for heartworm prevention!  ProHeart 12 is the only once-yearly injection to prevent heartworm disease and intestinal parasites in dogs.

Heartworm disease is on the rise in our area – with multiple positive cases at our hospital each month.  This increase is mainly due to transport of dogs throughout the country, changes in climate conditions, and less than 25% of dogs in our area receiving heartworm prevention.  With heartworm disease on the rise, prevention is a must for your dog.

Is ProHeart 12 the right heartworm prevention for your dog?  To answer that question, we advise asking yourself the following:

1.  When life gets busy, it is tough to stay on top of monthly dosing?
2.  Does your dog refuse to eat, vomit up, or spit out the monthly heartworm prevention chews?
3.  Do you have monthly preventatives left from last year that were not given?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then ProHeart12 is likely a great prevention option for your dog.

ProHeart12 is an injection very similar to a vaccine – it is administered under the skin at the time of your dog’s annual or wellness exam, but can also be given at any point throughout the year.  It has a similar safety profile to all other vaccines and can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

ProHeart 12 injection will be available at all LVC locations starting November 1st.  Click here to learn more about ProHeart 12.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, please give us a call or ask us at your dog’s next appointment.

Beef Cow Fall Program

Fall is an important time in the management of beef cows. Valuable management can include pregnancy exams, vaccinations, deworming and delousing.  Pregnancy exams done in the fall can determine whether or not a cow is bred. Early determination of open cows can have a positive economic impact. Typically beef cows are not culled until the spring when they do not produce a calf. Because an average cow will eat approximately $400 worth of hay throughout the winter, it is cost effective to have infertile cows leave the herd in the fall. This can also improve the fertility of the herd as fertility is a heritable trait. Pregnancy exams can also give valuable information to determine the stage of pregnancy, the sex of the calf, and whether or not the cow is carrying twins. If the goal is to determine the sex of the calf, pregnancy exams are best done between 55 and 80 days.

The fall is also a great time to get caught up on vaccinating your herd. A killed 10-way vaccine is recommended for pregnant cows. This vaccine will protect against respiratory and reproductive disease.  Deworming and delousing are also recommended in the fall. An adequate deworming and delousing protocol can help insure cows maintain their weight over the winter and deliver a nice, healthy calf in the spring.

Mastitis Culture Aids in Treatment and Prevention Strategies

In recent years, the dairy industry has enjoyed steady improvements in milking equipment, cow environment, teat dips and genetics. While these improvements are notable, dairy producers are still faced with udder health challenges that range from fine tuning somatic cell counts to the occasional severe mastitis case. These challenges can often be fatal or permanently damaging to the cow.
A case of mastitis is estimated to cost over $100 in direct costs and over $400 when future costs such as production loss and premature culling are considered. (Rollin, Dhuyvetter, Overton – Preventative Veterinary Medicine 2015). Factors that influence the total cost of a mastitis case include rate of contagious transmission, bacteriologic cure rate, herd replacement cost, and decreased milk production. (Down, Green, Hudson – Journal of Dairy Science 2013).
Given the economic importance of mastitis, a strategic approach to clinical and subclinical mastitis is important for every dairy farm. Culturing is considered the gold standard in mastitis diagnostics. By identifying the pathogen involved and considering the cow’s history of past mastitis events or elevations in somatic cell count, we are able to determine the likelihood of cure and the contagious risk to other cattle. The costs to perform these diagnostics are low and the majority of pathogens can be isolated within 24 hours. The following is a brief overview of common mastitis pathogens, their causes, and typical outcomes.

Gram Negative Mastitis Pathogens
Gram Negative mastitis pathogens are environmental pathogens found in manure, bedding, water, soil, and plant materials. Most pathogens in this group respond poorly to antibiotic treatment. Some gram negative bacteria are likely to cure without treatment, while others are more likely to cause chronic and sometimes untreatable infections. For this reason, it is important to differentiate the gram negative pathogens.
E coli: causes acute, frequently toxic, mastitis. Mild cases often cure spontaneously, but severe cases can be fatal.
Klebsiella: causes acute, sometimes toxic, mastitis. This form is associated with wet, organic material. Mild cases often cure spontaneously, but severe cases can be fatal.
Enterobacter: causes acute, sometimes toxic, mastitis. Mild cases often cure spontaneously, but severe cases can be fatal.
Serratia: can be subclinical or clinical. This pathogen has a poor response to antibiotic treatment and the cure may lead to abandoning the quarter or culling.
Pasteurella: causes acute toxic mastitis. This pathogen is unresponsive to antibiotic treatment and can be fatal.
Pseudomonas: causes chronic low grade or acute toxic mastitis. This form thrives in wet environments and does not respond well to antibiotics.
Proteus: a less common cause of acute mastitis that thrives in wet environments and does not respond well to antibiotics.

Of the commercially available mastitis antibiotics, Ceftiofur products have the best gram negative spectrum. Supportive care is an important component of treatment for moderate to severe mastitis cases. This may involve oral or IV fluid therapy, anti-inflammatory treatments, and potential systemic antibiotics.  Some farms elect to withhold intramammary antibiotics for mild cases caused by gram negative mastitis pathogens. Talk to your herd veterinarian about a targeted gram negative protocol, and be sure to monitor outcomes of your decision.

Gram Positive Mastitis Pathogens
Gram Positive mastitis organisms are endemic to the environment and skin of dairy cattle. Characteristics of common gram positive mastitis pathogens are listed below.
Streptococci: These bacteria are typically picked up from the cow’s environment. Strep species represent the most common cause of chronic infections on many dairies and longer duration therapies are sometimes needed.(Strep ag is no longer commonly found in Wisconsin dairy herds, but has a far more acute, contagious presentation).
Coagulase Negative Staphylococci: These bacteria are common skin flora of the teat and udder. Poor teat dipping practices are a common cause. Infections are frequently subclinical resulting in 2-3x increases in SCC. Infections vary in their persistence.
Staph aureus: This is a highly contagious mastitis pathogen that is primarily transmitted from infected quarters during the milking process. The hands of milkers, teat cups, and parlor towels are common means of spreading the pathogen. Staph aureus infections wall off in the mammary gland making treatment less effective than other pathogens. The walled off infections sporadically break open leading to repeated infections and varying cell counts. Culture and culling is a common strategy for fighting Staph aureus issues at the herd level.

All of the commercially available mastitis antibiotics have suitable spectrum for gram positive mastitis cases. Products differ in the duration and interval for which they are researched and labeled. For Streptococcal mastitis, longer duration therapies are frequently necessary to achieve bacteriologic cures. Talk to your herd veterinarian about choosing a product appropriate for your farm’s pathogen profile.

Other Organisms Implicated in Bovine Mastitis
Prototheca: An algae that thrives in wet environments, Prototheca typically causes low grade mastitis with months-long incubation periods before detection. Some Prototheca infected cows do not show elevated cell counts but most will eventually develop a clinical case of mastitis. It can spread from cow to cow in the parlor but herd issues often begin with an environmental source. Because Prototheca does not respond to antibiotics, cows are usually culled or the infected quarter dried.
Mycoplasma: This is a highly contagious mastitis pathogen that spreads from cow to cow in the milking parlor. Respiratory and urogenital infections can also spread through the bloodstream to the mammary gland. Fresh heifers can be infected by way of cross-suckling calves or internal spread of respiratory Mycoplasma infections. Mycoplasma mastitis is not effectively treated by intramammary antibiotics so culling is often recommended. A cow that is being added to the herd should be cultured to prevent the introduction of this pathogen.

Because of these differences in risk factors and treatment outcomes, mastitis culture data can help us design the best possible program to limit the number of new infections. Culture data can also help us choose the best treatment protocols for those that do occur. Operational decisions involving bedding, milking routine, teat dip, drug choice, and culling are made easier based on the knowledge of pathogen factors.

LVC Recommends Culture and Records Analysis to Improve Milk Quality
Request a monthly bulk tank culture. Be sure to share these results with your herd health veterinarian.
Culture individual mastitis cases. To maximize the benefit of these results, log them in Dairycomp or wherever you keep individual cow histories. This information can be very useful should a second case of mastitis occur or when evaluating the cow for other purposes.
If contagious pathogens such as Staph aureus, Prototheca or Mycoplasma are present in your herd, develop a strategy with your herd veterinarian to reduce spread and remove infected cows.
Regularly analyze a combination of DHIA and mastitis culture data to design a program that protects your cows and maximizes farm profitability.

Septic Arthritis in Cattle

Septic arthritis (commonly known as joint infections) are common in all breeds of cattle and can be life threatening to the animal. They are most commonly seen in young calves as secondary infections to umbilical (navel) infections shortly after birth. They may also be caused by direct trauma or wounds to the joint or the surrounding tissues. The most common joints that are affected are the carpus (front knee), stifle, or hock. While young calves can sometimes become lame and have a swollen joint secondary to trauma without infection, any lameness and joint swelling should be investigated as a possible joint infection, especially if there is evidence of an accompanying navel infection.

Clinical signs of septic arthritis include varying degrees of lameness in the affected limb, joint swelling, fever, and the feeling of warmth upon manipulation. When identified very early in the course of the infection, systemic antibiotics may be an effective treatment. However, once the infection has been established in the joint, it becomes very difficult to treat and often requires more aggressive therapy.

One treatment that has proven very effective is joint lavage. This involves sedating the calf and flushing a sterile solution into the joint through precisely placed needles. This procedure removes bacteria and toxins from the joint and allows antibiotics and the body’s own immune system to heal the joint.

In more advanced cases when joint lavage is ineffective, surgery may be required. This involves opening the joint and lavaging the area more aggressively. While this treatment carries a poorer prognosis, it can often obtain an acceptable result. Treatments of septic arthritis often require hospitalization for several days. If you suspect that your calf has an infected joint, contact us for an examination and evaluation of your animal.

Vitamin E and Selenium for Your Horse

Vitamin E and Selenium are involved in many systems within the body. Selenium is a mineral which is important for wound healing, stress tolerance, fetal development, healthy hair coat, and detoxification of drugs and other chemicals. In addition, selenium is critical for proper wound healing and muscle function, as well as preventing infection.

Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant and signs of vitamin E deficiency can be similar to those seen with selenium deficiency. There are several muscular and neurologic diseases which can result from a lack of vitamin E including Equine Motor Neuron Disease (EMND).

The soil in this region of the United States are deficient in Selenium, so forages grown in this area are also generally deficient and as a result equine diets should be supplemented. On the other hand, vitamin E is abundant in green growing pastures but the content diminishes with maturation and especially with harvesting for hay. Since we are unable to graze year-round, this vitamin should also be supplemented in the diet.

Horses who have increased time stalled or in a dry lot are especially prone to low levels of vitamin E and Selenium. Since these nutrients protect the muscle cells from damage and aid in healing, the higher and more intense the exercise program, the greater the requirements. Decreased fertility, neurologic signs, hind-end lameness, lethargy, or delayed healing are some of the many reasons we may recommend checking vitamin E and selenium levels, which can easily be done via a blood sample.

For example, we had a case of a broodmare that was having trouble getting in foal. She was kept on a dry lot and all forages she received were grown on sandy soil. She was in decent body condition and was strictly being used as a broodmare.

Vitamin E Level: 0.67 ug/ml
(Normal: 2-4 ug/ml)
(Performance Horse: 3-4 ug/ml)

Selenium: 136 ng/ml
(Normal: 120-180 ng/ml)
(Performance Horse: 170-180 ng/ml)

We have included this example to show how important all vitamins and minerals are in the diet. Often people hear about some particular mineral or vitamin and they just concentrate on that one element. We must remember that the diet needs to be balanced for everything. Many of the minerals and vitamins work very closely together and feeding one in excess can cause an extreme deficiency in another. If you have any questions or concerns about your horse’s diet, we would be happy to discuss in more detail!

Our Gallant Geldings and the Importance of Sheath Cleaning

If you have geldings and get dental work done on them regularly you will be used to this familiar question from your veterinarian: “Would you like his sheath cleaned today?”. While many owners have geldings that are patient enough to have their sheaths cleaned without any sedation, it can be difficult to clean and get a good look without assistance. Having your horse’s sheath cleaned and examined by your veterinarian annually will not only make your horse more comfortable, it can also allow the veterinarians to see potential issues early on before they become a much bigger problem.

As veterinarians, one of the most important reasons we advocate for annual sheath cleaning is to inspect the penis and sheath to look for cancerous lesions. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common equine tumor, and the penis and sheath are common areas for this type of cancer to be found. Older geldings and/or those with unpigmented genitalia, such as Appaloosas and Paints, are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. Current research also indicates that excessive accumulation of smegma can also predispose to the development of cancerous lesions. Annual sheath cleanings performed by your veterinarian allows them to both A) Remove the buildup of potentially harmful smegma and B) Thoroughly inspect the sheath while your horse is relaxed and sedated. If your veterinarian does find a worrisome lesion, they can work with you on the best plan for your horse to ensure the tumor does not grow or spread. In general, squamous cell carcinomas are locally aggressive but slow to spread to other organs, meaning the sooner your veterinarian can find and treat the growth, the better the prognosis is for your horse.

Another reason to have your gelding’s sheath cleaned annually is to remove the “bean”; an accumulation of smegma in the urethral fossa at the end of the penis. For some horses this accumulation is small and not an issue, but in others it can be the size of a marble or larger, and become painful for your gelding and/or make it difficult for them to urinate. Many horses will be resentful of having the bean removed without proper restraint and sedation, which is another excellent reason to have it done by your veterinarian. Even after sheath cleaning and bean removal, some horses may begin to accumulate smegma as soon as a week post-cleaning. This is normal in a lot of horses, and a low level of smegma is helpful in that it acts as a lubricant and protective covering for the penis. The purpose of the cleaning and bean removal is to get rid of any excess that could cause an issue.

We love our geldings and want to make sure that they’re happy and healthy. Having your gelding’s sheath cleaned and looked over annually by your veterinarian is an important way to ensure that they are both comfortable and free from any potentially cancerous lesions. If you have any questions or notice anything on your horse’s sheath between annual cleanings, be sure to contact your veterinarian to discuss your concerns early-on before anything has time to progress.

(Written by Dr. Deanna Scheller while she was a 4th year ambulatory rotation student with us from the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Thanks Dr. Deanna!)

LVC introduces a new procedure… Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer In Sheep and Goats

The advanced reproduction team at Lodi Veterinary Care is excited to announce Laparoscopic Artificial Insemination (AI) and Embryo Transfer (ET) procedures in sheep and goats.

The laparoscopic AI procedure requires the animal to be lightly sedated, given a local block at the site of the abdominal incisions, and then tipped in a special cart to allow access to the organs. Because this is a sterile procedure, sheep and goat AI/ET are done in our surgical suite at our Lodi location. Patients must be held off feed and water for 24 hours before surgery.

Why choose AI or ET? Getting an animal bred through an artificial procedure eliminates the need to have a buck or ram on the farm. It also expands your choice of the genetic donor pool by utilizing frozen semen which can be shipped nationwide. Unlike pasture breeding, AI also allows for accurate breeding dates which lead to anticipated delivery dates.

As with any reproductive program, the general health of the herd or flock greatly influences the success rate. Therefore, good nutrition, parasite management, and a detailed vaccination program are essential.

Contact us for more information regarding sheep and goat AI/ET services.

What You Need to Know Before Taking Your Pig to the Fair

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) are common diseases present in pig populations. PRRS is a viral respiratory and reproductive disease which causes abortions and infertility in adult sows. PEDv is a virus which causes diarrhea in all ages of pigs but is more severe in young piglets, often times leading to death.  In an effort to reduce exposure to PRRS and PEDv, Wisconsin has recently changed the rules regarding the transportation of porcine. All pigs(with a few exceptions below) are required to be tested before moving within or in/out of Wisconsin. Below are some frequently asked questions…

What pigs have to be tested?
Any swine moving into or within Wisconsin must be tested within 90 days of movement (swine moving to slaughter or to one exhibition prior to slaughter are exempt).

What happens when I go to an in state show?
The herd of origin must test negative for PRRS/SECD within 90 days of any swine’s movement to the exhibition or show. This allows swine from jackpot shows to have one test early in the spring to travel to a number of shows throughout the season.

What happens when I go to an out of state show?
If swine originate from Wisconsin and return to Wisconsin after an exhibition or show in another state, the exhibitor must notify DATCP of the movement before returning to Wisconsin. DATCP will quarantine the swine, herd of origin, or both until a herd plan is
developed and approved.

How do I test?
● A simple way to test is the “cotton rope” test which can be done by the swine owner under the direction of an accredited veterinarian.
● Cotton rope kits are available at Lodi Veterinary Care free of charge.
● Instructions for how to collect an oral sample using the rope test are
included with the kit. Please read the instructions carefully.

● Test samples can also be collected via blood serum and swab by a
● Regardless of who collects the sample, an accredited veterinarian
must submit the sample.

How much does it cost to test for PRRS and PEDv?
● Cotton rope test kit is free of charge
● Submission fee: ~$15
● PCR testing for PRRSv and PEDv: ~$65
● Health Certificate per exhibition: ~$50 (plus call charge)

*Fees may vary based on the number of animals going to an exhibition and is at the discretion of your veterinarian.

When should I test for PRRS/PEDv?
We recommend testing at least two weeks prior to your first exhibition to allow for the return of test results and to develop a herd plan if the results are positive.

What is a herd plan?
● A herd plan is a program developed with your veterinarian and
approved by DATCP to help bring your herd back to negative status
and reduce the spread of the disease.
● A herd plan is required if any pigs test positive for either PRRS/PEDv
or if the pigs were imported into Wisconsin without a negative test
within 90 days of being imported.

Details regarding what must be done for your herd plan can be discussed with your veterinarian at the time of a positive test result for PRRS or PEDv.

For more information please go to datcp.wi.gov.

Heartworm disease is on the rise in our area – keep your pets protected!

At Lodi Veterinary Care, we have seen at sharp increase in heartworm positive cases over the past year. We previously averaged 1-2 dog heartworm positive cases over this time, however, over the past six months, we have averaged 1-2 cases per month. This is scary!!

Heartworm disease is a deadly disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The increase in heartworm cases likely has several causes:

  • More dogs traveling throughout the country, particularly to and from heartworm endemic areas, such as the southern United States.
  • Changes in weather and environment, leading to an increase in the mosquito population
  • Decreased dogs receiving monthly heartworm prevention

It is important to be aware that heartworm positive dogs pose a risk to ALL dogs in our area. Because heartworm disease is transmitted from dog to dog via mosquito, the more heartworm positive dogs we have in our area the more heartworm carrying mosquitoes we have – increasing heartworm exposure for ALL dogs.

Heartworm disease is a difficult, risky, and costly disease to treat. There are often no outward signs of the disease until it is in the advanced stages. For these reasons, prevention and early detection are critical.

We advise Interceptor Plus year round for heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention. If you choose to give heartworm prevention seasonally, it must be given May 1st – December 1st.

For more resources regarding heartworm disease, check out the American Heartworm Society website.

Are grain-free diets harmful to your dog?

The FDA is currently researching a potential link between grain free dog food and development of heart disease. Grain-free food may lack taurine, an essential ingredient for your dog’s heart health.

Grain-free dog foods are high in carbohydrates, such as peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes. These ingredients may lack taurine or provide taurine in a way that is not available for the body to use. Low levels of taurine make dogs prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in which the heart muscle becomes stretched and unable to beat or contract effectively.

Grain-free food has gained popularity in recent years due to trends in the human world. It is important to remember that dogs are omnivores, meaning their body needs a little bit of everything. Protein, carbohydrates, grains, fats, vitamins, and minerals are all needed to maintain a healthy diet for your dog.

The most common reason dog owners choose grain free diets is because of concern for food allergies. However, the protein sources, mainly chicken and beef, are the most common cause of food allergies. Of the small percentage of dogs that have food allergies, only 0.9% of those dogs have true grain sensitivity.

In light of the current FDA investigation, we recommend the following for our patients:

  • We do not recommend any dog under one year of age be on a grain-free diet.
  • Dogs currently on grain-free diets that do not have a diagnosed grain allergy should transition to high quality, well-balanced diet that is NOT grain free.
  • Dogs with a diagnosed grain allergy should be transitioned to a grain-free brand food with the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) statement and consider blood testing for taurine levels.

Click here for more information regarding the FDA’s current investigation.

We all want what is best for our beloved pets and to keep their hearts healthy! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s diet please contact us.

Managing Calf Scours

Scours, or diarrhea, is a common illness of young calves and one of the leading causes of mortality prior to weaning.  Affected calves may suffer from decreased appetite, weakness, and eventual death from dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. Fortunately, scours can often be prevented with good management practices, including proper nutrition, hygiene, and a vaccination program recommended by your veterinarian. For calves that are already sick, early and appropriate treatment is the best way to ensure recovery.

The most important factor in preventing calf death from scours is hydration. Calves should always be given access to clean fresh water. Scouring calves should be offered a balanced oral electrolyte solution either free choice or as a separate feeding from their normal milk or milk replacer. Calves that maintain their appetites will often recover in three to five days without further treatment.

Calves that refuse to drink for two or more consecutive feedings may need to be given oral electrolytes via an esophageal tube feeder. Feeding milk with a tube feeder is not recommended, as it may cause harmful digestive upsets. If calves are too weak to stand or suckle, IV fluids or a plasma transfusion may be necessary. This will likely require veterinary assistance.

The decision to treat a scouring calf with antibiotics is dependent on the severity and symptoms of the disease. Many of the common causes of scours (viruses, parasites, and nutritional changes) will not respond to antibiotic treatments, and most calves recover without treatment after a few days. Reserve antibiotics for calves that have fevers higher than 103° F or show other signs of illness (depression, refusal to eat, coughing, etc.). Consult with your veterinarian to choose the best antibiotic for your animals.

The contagious truth about ringworm – let’s keep it out of our county fairs!

What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a common fungal infection of livestock that is caused by several different organisms called dermatophytes. The most common type to affect cattle is called Trichophyton verrucosum.

How is ringworm transmitted?
The organisms that cause ringworm are very hardy and persist in the environment for long periods of time, even after there is no direct animal contact. They can survive in bedding, soil, and on inanimate objects (posts/halters/neck straps) for many months. Because of this, ringworm is extremely contagious and minimal contact with the organism can infect animals and humans.

Why is Ringworm a concern at local and county fairs?
Ringworm is considered a zoonotic disease. This means that it is contagious between animal species as well as to people who come in contact with it. While farmers and ranchers may be familiar with ringworm and avoid touching the lesions, visitors of the fairs are an unsuspecting population. We have a duty to keep the general public free from this disease while also attempting to not spread it to other animals visiting the fair.

Where are ringworm lesions located and what do they look like?
Lesions frequently occur around the eyes, ears, muzzle, neck and trunk of animals. They are typically round/oval areas of crusted skin combined with hair loss. Occasionally, the lesions may have a raised look to them due to oozing and may have a secondary bacterial skin infection underlying the crust.

How long is ringworm contagious?
Ringworm lesions can persist for weeks to many months. During the entire time that the lesions are visible, they are considered contagious. At all stages of the ringworm disease process, small hair follicles are present (including underneath the crusted lesions). The old age saying that states, “If there’s hair growing through, it’s not contagious” is simply false. This is because on visual inspection it is impossible to determine if thin hair growth is due to hair falling out or hair growing back in. Tests have shown that animals recovering from ringworm with spotty hair growth will still culture positive for organisms that cause ringworm. Only animals without visually detectable lesions are considered no longer contagious.

If some lesions are healed but other spots are still present, is my animal still contagious?
Yes. Due to the prolonged disease process, individual ringworm lesions can be at different stages of healing depending on when the area was exposed to ringworm. Lesions can also heal at different rates, depending on the level of exposure. Another factor that affects healing rates is whether or not the animal has developed a secondary bacterial skin infection, which can slow the ringworm healing process.

How do I treat ringworm?
Ringworm is often self-limiting, meaning it will go away on its own without any treatment. However, if ringworm is present on an animal that is destined to attend a fair or show, treatment will need to be initiated immediately. As mentioned earlier, ringworm can persist for weeks to many months even with treatment. Therefore, it is not a disease that can be cleared up quickly in just the week prior to the fair. Consult with your herd veterinarian for strategies and treatment options.

A Different Breed of Pinkeye Emerges… Is a Different Breed of Vaccine the Answer?

What is pinkeye?
Pinkeye is a very painful and bothersome disease of cattle that has changed greatly in recent years. Traditional pinkeye (Moraxella bovis) is a summertime, pasture-based problem, easily treated with antibiotics. Modern pinkeye (Moraxella bovoculi ) is more of a year-round disease,
common in both indoor and outdoor cattle pens. It is difficult to prevent and more difficult to treat with antibiotics. Mycoplasma bovoculi is a less common bacterium but is also a type of pinkeye.

What causes pinkeye?
Pinkeye is caused by a bacterial infection of the tissues of the eye. Irritants such as sunlight, flies, dust, wind, thistles, tall grass and trauma can all contribute to the development of pinkeye.  Flies can spread the bacteria from cow to cow while a weakened immune system will also allow the infection to take hold.

What are the symptoms of pinkeye?
Common symptoms include a more pronounced reddish or pink discoloration to the pink part of the eye, while the clear part of the eye turns whitish-grey. Because it is painful, the cow will hold the eye partially closed, and extra tearing will stain the side of the face.

How is pinkeye treated?
Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics or a medicated spray specifically designed to treat pinkeye. In some cases a patch or suture is necessary to treat the infection.

How is pinkeye prevented?
Fly control with insecticidals such as ear tags, pour-ons, and back-rubbers can be helpful in controlling traditional pinkeye. Feed ingredients, weed control, and pasture maintenance can also help.

Is there a vaccine for pinkeye?
The bacteria that cause pinkeye have great strain variations. To be effective, the strains in your vaccine need to compatible to those affecting your cows. Because of this, commercially available vaccines can have limited efficacy. Lodi Veterinary Care has developed an autogenous vaccine that contains local strains of the pinkeye bacteria cultured from cattle in your area which makes it effective in preventing pinkeye. Talk to a Lodi Veterinary Care veterinarian for more information.

Feline Diabetes Mellitus

Feline Diabetes MellitusDiabetes mellitus is a common problem in cats. Caring for a diabetic animal requires some effort, but most pets remain happy and comfortable. Successful patient management requires a team effort between you and our veterinary care team.

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of (or lack of response to) insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The cells of the body require blood sugar (glucose) for food and they depend on the bloodstream to bring glucose to them. The cells cannot, however, absorb and utilize glucose without insulin. Insulin is necessary for the movement of glucose from the blood into the cells of the body.

What are the signs of diabetes?

Excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, sudden weight loss and weakness are seen in cats with diabetes. Without insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream and eventually passes into the urine. This causes increased urination, which then leads to an increase in thirst. Hunger increases because the body cannot use the glucose in the blood, which results in the body destroying muscle and fat to use as energy sources. If left untreated, this disease sets off a series of events which results in weight loss, major organ system failure, and eventually coma and death.

Why is my cat diabetic?

Feline diabetes is a complex disease, and most likely genetic and environmental factors both play a role. Many cats with diabetes have a history of chronic pancreatitis, or a disease which affects the body’s response to insulin. We do know that obesity is commonly associated with feline diabetes, along with the use of certain medications, such as steroids.

Is there a cure for diabetes?

Although there is currently no cure for cats with diabetes, some cats undergo remission a few months after diagnosis. This means that the diabetes goes away temporarily, and the cat is once again able to control his or her blood glucose levels. There is evidence to suggest that remission is most likely if the diabetes is treated effectively when first diagnosed.

How is diabetes treated?

Treatment generally requires an injection of insulin under the skin twice daily. Successful treatment also involves a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, generally Hill’s m/d or Purina DM.

What does the insulin do?

Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the cells. Glucose is an essential fuel for most of the tissues in the body, and without insulin, cell metabolism is severely compromised. Providing insulin in the form of an injection allows your cat to be able to utilize its glucose and maintain relatively normal glucose levels.

How do I give insulin?

Our veterinary team will show you exactly how to give insulin injections, but it’s really very simple. The insulin dose it pulled up into a special syringe, and injected under the skin. It is often easiest to inject between the shoulder blades or along the neck.

Do the insulin injections hurt?

Insulin syringes have very small needles, and most cats do not notice the injection. It is often easiest to administer the injection while your cat is distracted with food, a treat, or a toy. Most people are surprised at how easy insulin injections are to give.

How do I dispose of my used supply of needles and syringes?

Used needles and syringes need to be properly disposed of for both your safety and ours. You will be required to purchase a “SHARPS” container for a fee. This fee covers the container purchase, plus the proper disposal of the used/full container.

We will not accept used needles and syringes that are stored in containers other than the approved “SHARPS” container. Once the “SHARPS” container is full, simply return it to our office. We will dispose of it and you can purchase a replacement container.

What follow-up is involved with treating diabetes in cats?

In the non-diabetic cat, adequate amounts of insulin are produced continually (or as needed) by the pancreas to maintain normal blood sugar levels. When we give insulin injections, we administer a fixed amount at one time and that insulin is slowly released over several hours. A blood glucose curve is needed to determine how fast the injected insulin gets into the bloodstream and how long it lasts. Based on these results, we can determine if the correct type of insulin is being used and if the dose needs to be adjusted. Blood glucose curves are needed periodically to insure that the proper amount of insulin is being used. Blood glucose curves are performed by obtaining a blood glucose level every 2-4 hours over a 12 hour period. Generally, if your cat’s blood glucose is elevated throughout the curve, their insulin dose needs to be increased. If your cat’s blood glucose level is too low throughout or at any point during the curve, the insulin dose needs to be decreased.

What are the possible complications associated with treating my cat with insulin?

The most serious complication involved in treatment of diabetes is administration of too much insulin, which can trigger a dramatic drop in blood sugar leading to weakness, nausea, incoordination, seizures, and even death. Immediate feeding of a sugary food (honey, syrup, etc.) usually helps reverse this reaction. Other difficulties encountered generally revolve around finding the correct amount, timing and type of insulin given. While this is not often the case, “problem diabetics” do exist and have a higher incidence of concurrent disease such as lower urinary tract infections, kidney disease and liver disease.

Can I monitor my cat’s blood sugar (glucose) at home?

Learning to measure your cat’s glucose levels is very worthwhile. Firstly, information collected at home is a reflection of what’s happening day to day in your cat’s normal living environment. Cats in particular can become very stressed in the clinic, and their blood sugar levels can become markedly increased. Home glucose monitoring would allow you to be able to perform your cat’s glucose curves at home. Our veterinary team can use the values you obtain at home to adjust insulin therapy more appropriately and accurately. Secondly, if your cat seems unwell, you can quickly determine if blood sugar levels are dangerously high or low. It is very important to always consult our veterinary team prior to making any insulin adjustments.

The thought of glucose home monitoring may seem overwhelming at first, but it is an option to consider and can be started at any time during your cat’s diabetic treatment. Our veterinary team would be happy to demonstrate proper and easy blood sampling techniques and provide a home glucose monitoring kit.

What are the costs associated with treating my diabetic cat?

The major costs associated with treatment of diabetes include insulin, syringes and the cost of the glucose curves to regulate insulin requirements. We can give you more accurate estimation of treatment cost at your consultation appointment.

Our veterinary care team has reviewed the following websites on feline diabetes and find them to be an accurate source of valuable information.



Making the decision to care for your cat with diabetes is a big commitment, but many owners of diabetic cats have found treatment to be a very rewarding and enriching experience. There is a lot to learn and it is important to be patient with yourself and your cat during the learning process. Diabetes is a serious disease, but it can usually be well-controlled, enabling your pet to lead a happy and comfortable life.

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