Exploring Alternative Technologies that Promote Disease Prevention

Published on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 9:38am

 Exploring Alternative Technologies that Promote Disease Prevention

  Article provided by Agri-King

Cattle arriving at the feedlot face many challenges. Abrupt weaning, commingling, transportation, dehydration, diet changes, and depressed feed intake all contribute to immunosuppression and rumen upset. Treating sick cattle is expensive and time consuming. As consumers continue to put emphasis on reducing and refining the use of antibiotics, cattle producers are exploring alternative technologies that promote disease prevention by maintaining the well-being of the gut and enhancing nutrient digestibility.
Cultivating a healthy digestive tract can enhance animal health, performance, and feed efficiency. With 70% of all immune cells located in the gut, it is the first line of defense against foreign pathogens. Stress, pathogens, digestive upset, and the use of antibiotics can upset the balance of commensal bacteria, negatively impacting digestion and allowing opportunistic pathogens to invade and reproduce. The use of oral antibiotics can have a negative impact on dry matter intake and can cause a performance drag in high-risk cattle with low feed intakes1. Synbiotic products, such as Tri-Lution®, contain probiotic and prebiotic nutrients, which cultivate a healthy rumen and intestinal environment and may serve to improve overall animal health and performance when animals are under stress.

Probiotic organisms, prebiotic nutrients, and yeast cell wall fractions are known modulators of the intestinal microbiota and immune system. The impacts of feeding probiotic products on the short-term health and performance of cattle under stress, such as receiving beef calves and young dairy calves, have been the focus of a growing body of research.  Disease challenged and receiving beef calves supplemented with probiotic products demonstrate reduced numbers of treatment pulls and increased dry matter intake, resulting in improved short-term body weight gain, when compared with calves receiving no probiotic2,3. It is possible that the value of these probiotic products for disease prevention practices may be limited when used in situations absent of stress, physiological challenges, or in particularly healthy cattle.  Products containing probiotics, like Tri-Lution®, can also be useful as tools during diet transitions and weather events. The 2011 National Animal Health Monitoring Service found that 35% of feedlots used a probiotic paste as part of an initial treatment for digestive disorders. Additionally, using a probiotic product in combination with or following a treatment with an injectable antibiotic can help to repopulate the beneficial organisms in the gut that may be affected.
Healthy cattle demonstrate maximum productivity and feed efficiency. Isn’t it time to get proactive about the health and performance of your cattle? For more information about Tri-Lution®, contact your local Agri-King area manager or visit our website at https://www.agriking.com/.


1Rivera, J.D., J.T. Johnson, and G.K. Blue. 2017. Effects of oral tilmicosin on health and performance in newly received beef heifers. The Professional Animal Scientist. 34:42-50
2Ponce, C.H., J.S. Schutz, C.C. Eltrod, U.Y. Anele, and M.L. Galyean. 2012. Effects of dietary supplementation of a yeast product of performance and morbidity of newly received beef heifers. Prof. Anim. Sci. 28:618-622.
3Duff, G.C., and M.L. Galyean. 2007. Board-invited review: Recent advances in management of highly stressed, newly received feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 85:823-840.