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Journal of Animal Science Abstract -

A review of ectoparasites and their effect on cattle production.


This article in

  1. Vol. 70 No. 2, p. 597-602


  1. R L Byford,
  2. M E Craig and
  3. B L Crosby
  1. Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces 88003.


Losses in livestock production due to ectoparasite infestations exceed $2.26 billion annually. Over 50 species of ectoparasites infest cattle throughout the United States. The horn fly, Haematobia irritans (L.), is the most important and widespread of the five to six major pest species of pastured cattle in the southern region. Results from the examination of production traits from cattle under ectoparasite burdens have been variable, ranging from no effect to significant reductions in weight gains. Because of this inconsistency, specific physiological and nutritional responses in cattle infested or not infested with horn flies have been examined. Data have shown significant differences in nitrogen retention, blood cortisol concentrations, vital signs, water consumption, and urine production. Implications are that total energy balance is altered when an animal is exposed to ectoparasite infestations, thereby resulting in decreased productivity.

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