Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
dairy cows

Build resilience in your herd to avoid pathogen challenges.

Posted May 21, 2024 by Joel Pankwoski, Ph.D., PAS, Sr. Manager, Dairy Technical Services

Pathogens are constantly attacking your cows. They come in many forms—viruses, bacteria, mycotoxins and more—and continuously have the ability to rob your cows of their health and productivity. Too prevalent to completely mitigate, it’s important to focus on a proactive defense that creates resiliency in your cows to help them avoid, or minimize, the effects of pathogen challenges.

Now more than ever, preparing your cows to help them fight off disease challenges is critically important. The following are three important steps to build resiliency:

1. Strengthen immunity.

A healthy immune system is one of the cows’ best chances to avoid a health challenge, and the proactive strengthening of the cows’ immune system is the main driver of establishing herd resilence. In your ration, consider including products such as Refined Functional Carbohydrates™ (RFCs™) that support growth of beneficial bacteria and prevent certain pathogens from attaching to the intestinal wall and cause disease.

2. Bolster gut health.

The gut microbiome – from the rumen through the large intestine – is a key driver of the health and productivity of the cow. Gut bacteria are specific to your dairy, and it’s important for beneficial bacteria to thrive while reducing the impact of pathogenic organisms. Specific Bacillus strains can produce antimicrobial peptides that inhibit pathogen growth. Research has also shown that Bacillus can impact tight junction proteins to help create tighter barriers between cells in the small and large intestine to prevent pathogens from entering the bloodstream. Work with your nutritionist to create and feed Bacillus strains specific to your cows’ environment to make their impact even more effective.

3. Bind mycotoxins.

Because they are ever-present on your dairy, protecting cows from the impact of mycotoxins is more important than all-out removal. Building resilience inside the cow is key to preventing mycotoxin challenges, which includes strengthening immunity and building a thriving gut environment. But another component is the process of actually detoxifying mycotoxins to block their toxic effects and prevent them from crossing the gut barrier to do their damage. Add these ingredients to take a step beyond just binding mycotoxins to achieve more broad-spectrum efficiency.

Your nutritionist and veterinarian can help create a program to build resiliency in your herd and keep viruses, bacteria, mycotoxins and other pathogens at bay. Work with them to put together a strategy that includes key nutrition components to strengthen immunity and create a robust environment inside the gut.




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About Dr. Joel Pankowski

Dr. Pankowski has a diverse background with animal nutrition companies including his current role as Senior Technical Services Manager at Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production where he has been since May of 2011. Dr. Pankowski earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science and dairy management from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in reproduction and epidemiology from Cornell University.



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