IntroductionOne of the most common problems that plague beef cattle farmers and indeed other farmers, as they seek to turn out a profit, is the issue of parasites in their herd. Such infections can lead to death and when there are widespread they can certainly affect the profitability of an operation. Attention to the health needs of such cattle herds, therefore, is an indispensable part of the animal husbandry business. But especially for farmers or companies that have hundreds and hundreds of cattle, what is the optimum means by which to treat the cattle.
Is it necessary to examine them one by one and administer the appropriate medication or is it possible, especially where the treatment is preventative, to have a system that is both efficient and effective? It is with this element of both efficiency and effectiveness in mind that the VetCap™ antithelmic delivery system has been developed. It seeks to allow a single or a few individuals to possibly deliver much needed anti-parasitic drugs into the systems of the cattle through a remote delivery operation. This paper seeks to explore the market and to consider the feasibility of introducing this product into the market place, taking into consideration the most promising places and the best arrangements that would ensure that the company with the patent gets the product into the market place with a minimum of fuss and the possibility of being rewarded handsomely for it.
Literature Review Each year, there are efforts by farmers to take care of parasites that affect their cattle. The effort that farmers put into ridding their cattle of parasites is necessary because “parasites decrease production, usually through decreased weight gain…Parasites that affect cattle can be divided into two major categories, internal and external” (Currin & Whittier 2000).
Among the internal parasites that affect cattle are roundworms, flukes, and tapewoms. In the case roundworms, the species known as Ostertagia is one of the most dangerous to cattle and usually affects cattle that is less than 2 years of age. Cows that are older that two would have developed some form of immunity to this roundworm and it may not be economically feasible to go through the deworming process.
Even so, when cows are frequently dewormed this decreases the chance of having younger animals become infected. The roundworm can also go into hibernation in the abomasum, or true stomach of the cattle. The larvae can remain in the abomasums over the winter and hatch during the spring when they have a better chance of survival. But “While not common, large numbers of inhibited larvae can cause individual calves to show severe signs of being afflicted with parasites and the symptoms often include diarrhea and rapid loss of weight (Currin & Whittier 2000).
Different farmers resort to different methods to get rid of the parasites. For beef cattle, in particular, there are pharmaceuticals that come in the form of paste or that are injectable. Others are drenched or poured on while there is bolus as well as concoctions that can be added to feed or water (Currin & Whittier 2000). Not surprisingly the effectiveness and cost factors differ. In some cases, the method of administration itself has been associated with accidents. For example, some farmers administer cattle worming boluses which contain ingredients that are supposed to get the cattle dewormed.
The use of cattle boluses is popular because it is presented in the form of food for the cattle to pick and swallow. “Reports reveal cattle have shown signs of difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, lack of appetite and wasting, said the VMD’s Fabia Dyer. “Animals can survive for several days, but experience great discomfort before death…. On post-mortem examination, the bolus is found to be lodged in the throat or oesophagus. Cases have also been reported where the bolus has been administered into the windpipe, she said.
Such animals show signs of extreme distress and die within minutes” (Poor bolus administration kills cattle 2006 13). There is no question that farmers would want to find better ways of administering the necessary drugs to their cattle rather than losing some in their herd to these accidents. It may also be that the farmers who tried to administer the boluses rather than have the cattle pick them up for swallowing simply did not know what to do and did not have suitable training to do so, resulting in such unfortunate accidents.