Cattle production: Treating an abscess

Question: One of my cows has an abscess on her head. How can I treat this ailment?

  • If possible, isolate the cow from other symptom-free cattle.
  • Inject iodine iodide into the cow.
  • Use 1 ml for every 10 kg of body mass.
  • It is also advisable to inject the same dosage of penicillin into the neck or hindquarters.
  • Once the abscess subsides it should be drained using a sanitised needle.
  • Make a small hole at the bottom of the abscess to allow the pus to drain out.
  • When the first pus appears the rest can be massaged out and the wound treated with an antiseptic-and-water solution.
  • It should then be treated with a wound spray to prevent flies from laying eggs in the wound. Treat the wound on a daily basis until it has healed.
  • However, if more cattle are affected you will have to vaccinate your cattle, sheep and goats with actinomycin (corynobacterium) piogenese.
  • If it is the first time your animals are being vaccinated they should be given a course of 3 injections at 10-day intervals.
  • A booster dosage is then administered every 6 months.
  • The vaccine is available from co-ops or from your veterinarian.

Also read:
Cattle production: Dealing with placenta that didn’t discharge
Cattle production: How to deal with warts on your calves

  • This article was written by Cois Harman and first appeared in Farming SA.

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