Navel Infections but why

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LB2727

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We have had our herd for about 5 years and we have always sprayed navels with iodine shortly after birth. Until this year we used a 1 or 2% iodine solution because that was the only option at our farm store. This year I did some hunting and got a 7% solution because I thought it was better. Well...we are currently treating 4 of our 17 calves for infected navels! 3 of them seem mild (so far) but 1 calf also has a swollen knee. All are getting penicillin (vet said give for 5 days) and the worst one also got Nuflor yesterday.

I am pretty involved with the calves and look them over multiple times everyday. I am so frusterated by this because until now, we have never had any of our calves get infected navels and I don't understand why so many are getting it! The herd spends most of their time out on grass pasture. They do have acess to a shed but it is dry as well. If they were all in mud I would understand it more. Also confused because the one calf is almost 7 weeks old...maybe I'm wrong but I thought navels are sealed up by now?

I appreciate any insight on the subject...treatment opinions, ideas behind the outbreak, etc.
Is it likely that they will get over this? The 3 mild ones act fine...just have larger navels and dripping some puss. The 1 with the swollen leg is also acting good (seemed a little down a few days ago before we started meds)...limps but was running around with the others tonight.

Thank you!
 

GoWyo

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Maybe mycoplasma. That crap is insidious and can present like joint ill, pneumonia, and some other issues. Myco can even be in the dam's milk if I recall correctly from a recent article.
 

Buck Randall

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There are a million possible explanations, and only someone familiar with your animals/pastures/feed could begin to narrow it down. Are the calves being born on fresh grass and clean bedding? "Dry" manure and dirt aren't any better than mud; they get wet in the calving process and cling to a wet umbilicus.

Cleanliness is only part of the equation. Are the calves getting quality colostrum quickly? Delayed time to stand and nurse is a heritable problem in some bulls. Are the cows not producing high quality colostrum? That might be a nutritional problem.

Your vet would be a good resource for narrowing down the possibilities and identifying the source of the problem.
 

wbvs58

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I think it is an easy fix, do nothing, don't spray with anything, I suspect the iodine you are putting on is too strong and blistering them. I am sure you would have fewer problems if you did nothing. I only go near the new born to tag and weigh and will usually wait until they are dried off so not slippery to handle and the cow has lost her afterbirth. I bring them into a calving paddock of about 1 ha for a couple of days around the due date for ease of handling, the paddock has a good cover of stockpiled grass as it is in the middle of our winter. I do not get problems with infected navels.

Ken
 

Buck Randall

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I think it is an easy fix, do nothing, don't spray with anything, I suspect the iodine you are putting on is too strong and blistering them. I am sure you would have fewer problems if you did nothing. I only go near the new born to tag and weigh and will usually wait until they are dried off so not slippery to handle and the cow has lost her afterbirth. I bring them into a calving paddock of about 1 ha for a couple of days around the due date for ease of handling, the paddock has a good cover of stockpiled grass as it is in the middle of our winter. I do not get problems with infected navels.

Ken
I've seen more calves dipped with 7% iodine than I could begin to count, and it doesn't cause navel problems.
 

wbvs58

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I've seen more calves dipped with 7% iodine than I could begin to count, and it doesn't cause navel problems.
Well Buck, 7% is in the upper range of tincture of iodine and getting close to 10% which is strong iodine and I know that strong iodine can do a mild blister on the skin of horses, also not all products are equal, there are different formulations with alcohol and potassium iodide and sodium iodide and there are the povidine iodines which are more commonly used these days which are a lot milder on the skin. With respect to the original poster, he bought a new product to use this year and is now having trouble, I think it is a no brainer to discontinue using it and see if things improve. I can assure him he won't have a train wreck by doing nothing.

Ken
 

Ky hills

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I've seen more calves dipped with 7% iodine than I could begin to count, and it doesn't cause navel problems.
Same here, I have used it for years on the dairy calves that we brought in if they had not already been treated with it, as well as quite a few beef calves that we have calved out inside the barn. Have however had some navel infections when haven't treated calves or when the weaker version was used. Hadn't really had any issues with infected navels other than a random event once in a while, but last year we did have 3 or 4 that needed treating. I chalked it up to the weaker solution that we had on hand at the time not being strong enough.
 
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Silver

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No iodine on the navels here. Treated one calf this year, one last year and both responded well. One case of joint ill last season and one this season. I doubt my percentages are any different than those that administer iodine.
I think more effective than iodine is good husbandry and adequate colostrum. JMHO.
 

moses388

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I've been told iodine 2% or above is for cuts, wounds, navels. And 1% iodine is a weak antiseptic like dairies use for teat dip. I personally use Vetericyn Super 7 for navels. Sorry to hear about the challenges. I hope you find the answers.
 

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