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Controlling Parasites in Deer

Controlling Parasites in Deer

Controlling Parasites in Deer

With weaners entering their first winter and hind scanning complete, look to review your deer animal health plan.

Assessing mineral levels in cull hind livers at slaughter, or from blood samples, aids in developing an appropriate supplementation programme. Deer are particularly susceptible to copper deficiency, so this is an essential trace element to monitor. Iodine and selenium are also important to check especially when wintering on crops.

For an overall mineral boost, Horizon’s InjectaMin contains copper, selenium, zinc, and manganese and can be given up to every four months in deer. Multi-mineral supplements such as this are beneficial at critical periods such as fawning and weaning. 

Supplementing at high-demand periods enables deer to cope better and continue to perform at optimal levels. Stags can also be treated at button drop for enhanced velvet growth and quality. The InjectaMin dose rate for deer of all ages is 1 mL per 100 kg given under the skin and the nil meat withholding period means it can easily be used in all stock classes. If already supplementing selenium or copper, seek veterinary advice before concurrent treatment as both can be toxic if given in excess.

In deer, parasites are a common cause for poor growth and ill thrift. Poor growth in young stock can have significant economic flowon effects such as missing the peak venison schedule and carrying extra stock into the drier season. 

When considering drenches for young stock, deer require a higher dose of specific drench families compared with other livestock to achieve effective treatment of parasites. Nexan has developed Cervidae Oral; a low dose 1 mL per 10 kg triple combination oral drench formulated specifically for New Zealand farmed deer. 

Cervidae Oral provides the required level of active drench for deer without using off-label doses or products. It has a convenient 28-day meat withholding period as opposed to the standard 91 days applied to off-label treatments.

As with all drenches, management is essential to ensuring their long-term efficacy in the face of parasite resistance. Weigh a sample of the mob to be drenched and treat the heaviest. Calibrate drench guns using drench and a reliable measuring cylinder.

Grazing management is an important component of parasite management. Where possible, using cross-species grazing and forage crops to lower the parasite burden in young stock lessens the need for drench treatments. Healthy deer tend to develop good immunity to parasites within their first year of life, so well-fed conditioned adult deer should have little to no requirement for drenching. Exceptions to this may include Wapiti sires post-rut and a selection of poor condition or maiden hinds pre-rut or fawning.

To incorporate Cervidae Oral and InjectaMin into your deer health plan, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.