Merck Animal Health on Wednesday announced the launch of Creating Connections, a new program designed to help producers better understand cattle behavior and use that knowledge to employ strategies that can reduce stress, improve reproduction and foster stronger immune responses.
Since calmer cattle are easier to examine, diagnose, treat and move, the techniques shared through Creating Connections will help make it easier for producers to improve the health of their herds, Merck said.
"At Merck Animal Health, we are committed to improving animal well-being and contributing to the ongoing success of our customers," Paulo Loureiro, D.V.M, Merck Animal Health, said in a statement.
The program will launch with a series of videos explaining how common cattle behavioral cues can be interpreted to understand their comfort and well-being. The video series will be followed by additional resources, including learning modules and training seminars, in the coming months.
"The behavior of cattle – how they interact with each other and with people – can be shaped by positive interactions with caregivers, and tell us a tremendous amount about how cattle are feeling," said Tom Noffsinger, D.V.M., a consulting feedyard veterinarian well known for his work on low-stress cattle handling practices. "Creating Connections is a valuable tool to help producers all over the world improve herd health, as well as contribute to a safe environment for cattle and their handlers."
The launch of the program comes just days after the company updated producers on its review of Zilmax, a feed additive used in cattle. The product, which was pulled from the market last year on concerns that it caused lameness issues, was found to be safe after an internal review of dosing procedures and label language.
As the company continues its review of the product, it says it will employ in-field use studies to track animal behavior before and after receiving Zilmax; third-party experts, the company said, will observe animals' mobility.
Visit the Merck Creating Connections website for more information on the new cattle behavior education program.