Ag Experts and Entomologists warn of dangerous pestilence expected this summer...

It begins with internal and external parasites expected in farm animal herds, but it continues with danger to humans from a potential mosquito epidemic.

UVALDE — Excessive rains in many parts of the state have Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts concerned about the possibility of increased parasite and pest activity with livestock.

“Wet weather creates conditions favorable for parasites to infect animals on pasture,” said Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist based in Uvalde.

Machen said with the recent wet weather the biggest challenge for cattle is the brown stomach worm. Affected animals lose weight and in severe cases may die of overwhelming clinical ostertagiasis, a disease characterized by severe diarrhea, edema and serious weight loss.

“The anthelmintic, or treatment, for this parasite can be used orally, topically or through injection,” Machen said.Generally, I’ve found that for ease of application most producers prefer the topical or pour-on application.” The pour-on application has the further advantage of providing some external control of horn flies and face flies as well as ticks, he said. Ticks are among the external parasites that may be found in greater number on cattle and other livestock as a result of recent rains. Ticks are the primary factor for a disease called anaplasmosis, which causes anemia and can kill livestock.

Another big problem expected is in sheep and goat flocks where roundworms and coccidia may occur. Here again, dewormers can help control the problem, but pasture rotation and some genetic selection is also important.

Perhaps the most familiar problem for all of us is the mosquito infestation. The recent rains left plenty of reason for mosquitos to reproduce in standing water. Most of us have already felt the problem when we tried to sit or work outside our homes. The mosquitos are annoying to everyone, but they also spread numerous diseases. The most common serious human disease they spread in Texas is encephalitis, but animals also get it, and animals are also infected with heartwormsit also applies to animals, and dogs also get mosquito borne heartworms.

The simplest thing we can all do to help with our mosquito problem is to remove standing water, though the extension service library has a lot of information available on their web site at www.agrilifebookstore.org.