Medicated minerals are available and frequently used to help prevent the blood-born disease, anaplasmosis. A consistent and appropriate intake of the mineral is critical to a successful anaplasmosis prevention program. Cow calf operators will want to monitor mineral consumption closely to be certain that the label-recommended amounts are being consumed by the cattle.
The most popular means of anaplasmosis prevention is the use of mineral mixes that contain chlortetracycline (CTC). When fed at a rate of 0.5 mg/lb. of body weight CTC will reduce the risk of anaplasmosis infections. (November, 2013 Veterinary Entomology vol. 6, issue 4) It is important to note, however, that CTC is added to minerals for several different reasons, and these other uses require different levels of drug in the mineral. Make sure that the product you choose states on the label that it is formulated at a rate for the prevention of anaplasmosis, and gives the specific amount of daily consumption needed to supply that level. The next step is to monitor your herd to make sure that the product is being consumed at the appropriate rate. If not, you may need to look at other products or change your management practices in order to correct consumption deficits. Recovered animals will be carriers of the disease and a source of infection for susceptible individuals. Clear them of the organism with high levels of antibiotics administered parentally, isolate them from susceptible animals, or cull them from the herd.
Placement of mineral feeders and blocks can aid in achieving optimum mineral intake. Place them in areas where cattle spend a lot of time. Minerals should be placed in loafing areas, near water sources, in shady areas, or any other location that tends be a popular place for the herd to congregate. A rule of thumb is to provide one mineral feeding station for every 30 to 50 cows. Check feeders at least once a week and keep a clean, fresh supply of minerals present at all times. A good feeder should keep minerals dry, be portable and hold up to abuse and corrosion. Open tubs are not adequate in high rainfall areas.
Summer often becomes a busy time of year for ranchers (especially during haying season). Don't forget to check the mineral feeders or blocks to be certain that they are supplying the minerals that your cows need. If you have questions about anaplasmosis prevention or suspect that an animal in your herd has anaplasmosis, call your veterinarian for help with treatment.