VetGun Frequently Asked Questions
BEST SPOT: If I dose one side of the cow with AIM-L will the other side be protected as well?
A: Yes. Just like you’re used to with any pour-on, the insecticide migrates across the skin. Research conducted by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service showed no statistical difference between the fly numbers on the side of cows dosed with a synthetic pyrethroid when compared to the opposite side of the same animal. This indicates that the insecticide migrates effectively across the skin of the animal to provide extensive coverage.
BREAKAGES: What if a VetCap breaks in the VetGun barrel?
A: The VetGun kit includes a cleaning kit. Use it according to directions to clean out the barrel. If the kit is not readily available, remove all VetCaps and the Feeder Tube, then dry fire 3-4 shots to clear the barrel of any residue or pieces of the broken shell. Always point the VetGun in a safe direction, follow instructions in the VetGun Operation on manual and never look down the barrel !
CONTACT: Who do I contact if I have technical problems with the VetGun?
A: You will find the information to answer most of your questions about the VetGun or VetCap products in the VetGun Operation Manual; on the SmartVet.com website or in the FAQ’s below. If you still have specific questions regarding the VetGun, AIM-L or its active ingredients Lambda Cyhalothrin or Piperonyl Butoxide, please contact an AgriLabs Technical Veterinary Specialist at 800-542-8916
COST EFFECTIVE -VETGUN: At a recommended retail price of $249, isn’t the VetGun is expensive for just fly control ?
A: The cost of a VetGun must be weighed up vs the cumulative costs of handling and treating your cattle with alternative methods. Or, versus the resultant cost/economic loss of not treating your cattle at all. VetGun allows cattle to be treated on pasture at the most opportune time for treatment vs current standard procedure of gathering, penning and processing cattle through a chute. Many times this is done for a breeding purpose and other treatments are done at that time, not always the best time i.e. insecticide ear tags, because the cattle are penned. The VetGun is a delivery platform and an investment in equipment much like feed bunks, water troughs, gates, panels .It will last a long time and more products are in the regulatory process and planned to follow AiM-L in the future. Once you own the VetGun it will be a valuable tool to use for many years to come. It only takes saving the potential production loss on approximately 5 calves to pay for the investment in the VetGun.
COST EFFECTIVE – VETCAPS: Aren’t the VetCaps expensive per treatment ?
A: Many times we underestimate how bad our fly population is and it is easy to lose $50/head or more through lost gains due to hornflies. VetCaps can help save money from production losses due to heavy fly populations. In addition, the cost of labor, time and extra facilities (rented pasture) required to pen cattle when comparing the cost of VetCap treatment vs standard methods.
A VetCap when purchased in a 150-pack, costs less than $2/treatment.
Producer Loss Case Study Example (using very conservative figures; and excluding costs of labor for alternative treatment typesˆ):
• Blood Loss = Lost Gains:
• a calf gains 2.5lb/day
• horn flies cause 17%-33% reduction in weight gain over an 80-day period
• a 15% reduction in weight gain = 0.375lb lost per day
• 80 days x 0.375lb = 30lb lost gain
• 30lb x $1.60 = $48 / head income loss to horn fliesˆ.
• (10 head = $480 income loss / 50 head = $2,400 income loss / 100 head = $4,800 income loss )
ˆ Very conservative figures used: -research shows horn flies cause 17%-33% reduction in weight gain over 80days, this example uses 15%. Price of calf at $1.60 – this is below market rates (as at Jan 29, 2014).
DOSAGE: How many AIM-L VetCaps do I need per cow?
A: Apply one AIM-L VetCap to animals weighing over 600lbs. Before dosing, always read the label instructions for the product you are using, and work according to these.
DURATION: How long will AIM-L protect my cattle against Horn Flies?
A: Depending on cattle size, weather conditions, parasite burden and the level of acquired resistance to synthetic pyrethroids, a single dosing according to label instructions should protect your cattle for between 3 and 6 weeks.
EARTAGS: I already use insecticide eartags, why is AiM-L VetCaps?
A: Dependant on the situation, some eartags may be good to use at the start of the season, however many won’t last through the season. AiM-L VetCaps are an ideal mid season follow-up, not requiring you to bring the cattle in again. It is also worth considering rotating different chemical classes to help prevent resistance. (see separate section on resistance).
ENVIRONMENTAL: What environmental concerns are there regarding any full VetCaps or shell fragments left in the field?
A: The VetCaps shells are made mostly of natural organic materials and designed to dissolve quickly after rupture and exposure to the elements. Every effort should be made to recover any intact VetCaps. However, even if not recovered these will begin to breakdown soon after exposure to the environment. Under normal working conditions, the environmental exposure to lambda cyhalothrin or piperonyl butoxide from AIM-L VetCaps left in the field is highly unlikely to ever approach the permitted level for other agricultural applications such as in sprays etc. Provided you follow the label instructions, the risk of any environmental pollution from AIM-L VetCaps is very low.
FRAGILE: Why have my VetCaps become fragile?
A: Prolonged exposure to very dry conditions or freezing temperatures can cause the VetCaps to lose moisture from the shell and become brittle. Try placing them in a more humid environment for 24 to 72 hours to restore original condition. VetCaps that have frozen may be permanently damaged. Damaged and unused product should be disposed of as directed on the product label.
FRAGMENTATION: Why are my VetCaps not fragmenting like they do on the demonstration video?
A: Exposure to humidity reduces the VetCap’s ability to fragment, if they do not fragment fully then they may not mark the animal as well as shown on the video. If the VetCaps are inadvertently exposed to high heat and humidity and stop fragmenting fully, their condition can normally be restored by placing them for 24 to 72 hours in cool & dry conditions where relative humidity is between 20% and 50% and temperatures do not exceed 70F. The lower the humidity environment, the quicker the fragmentation capability will be restored.
GOOD FACILITIES ALREADY: I already have good facilities, what’s the benefit of VetGun?
A: There are many times when the flies are so bad, but you don’t need to run the animals through the facilities for anything else. VetGun then becomes a huge time and labor savings in that you can treaty in the pasture without needing to pen; and handle them. Many examples exist of individual producers treating over 100 cattle in an hour. Less stress and less risk of injury for animals and people to treat the animals in their own environment rather than running them through the facilities.
HEAT & HUMIDITY: What effect do heat and humidity have on the VetCaps?
A: The VetCaps are sensitive to humidity and heat, this is why they should always be kept in their specially designed packaging right up until they are used. VetCap products should be stored under conditions where relative humidity is kept between 30% and 50% and temperatures are maintained between 40F and 70F. Ensure VetCaps are never exposed to freezing temperatures during storage, transport or use, this will permanently damage them
HURTING CATTLE: Will VetGun hurt my cattle?
A: When followed & used correctly, the VetGun offers producers a humane and safe way to treat cattle. The velocity of the VetGun and structure of the VetCap has been designed to ensure the VetCap ruptures on impact, yet is not strong enough to distress or injure the animal. VetGun velocity is less than half that of a standard paintball velocity. A cow’s hide is much thicker and tougher than human skin. The instantaneous short-lived impact of a softgel capsule on an animal hide is far less stressful than the lengthy process of herding; confining and handling in order to administer an alternative treatment method. Having the flexibility to choose optimal treatment timing means cattle suffer less from parasite infliction.
PAINTBALLL GUNS: Can a paintball gun be used to deliver VetCaps?
A: Both technically and legally a standard paintball cannot be used to project a VetCap.
Technically, a VetCap is almost twice the diameter of a standard recreational paintball. A standard paintball is 2.68ml ; and Aim-L VetCap is a 10ml (approximately 4x the volume) .
The VetGun is specially designed and engineered to project these EPA-approved softgel encapsulated pesticide VetCaps.
The design accommodates the precise diameter of a VetCap as well as the necessary velocity required to project the VetCap to a required distance of 15-30 ft and fragment upon impact, yet not rupturing in the VetGun, and without causing undue harm to the animal.
So technically it is not possible to use a VetCap in a standard paintball gun.
Legally, the EPA approved AiM-L VetCap product label specifically provides for application using a SmartVet approved device only – the VetGun.
By law, the use of another device to project an AiM-L VetCap constitutes a federal offence as it is using a pesticide contrary to its EPA approved label. Furthermore, the VetGun remote delivery system and VetCaps are patented products, so any effort to replicate in any way would be infringing on the patents.
RAIN: What if it rains after cattle are treated or is raining when I want to dose them?
A: You should always consider the weather forecast before dosing. Never dose wet cattle or dose the day before, during or immediately after rainfall. Heavy rain can reduce the duration of control and the level of control.
RESISTANCE: Parasite Resistance – Why do some treatments (including AiM-L) lose efficacy quickly or not last very long?
A: Producers may find some parasite treatments to be short-lived in efficacy and duration- this may vary depending on actual treatment type; geographical location; environment; climatic conditions and timing of treatment. There are numerous elements that impact product efficacy, however one key element is PARASITE RESISTANCE. Parasite resistance occurs when successive generations of parasites eventually become resistant to the chemical classes of insecticide or parasiticide treatments, rendering them largely ineffective. Field studies show a single class of insecticidal ear tag during the horn-fly season resulted in product failure within 3-4 years for pyrethroids and organophosphates, respectively. In a separate study, both laboratory toxicological data and field observations of poor control demonstrate that pyrethroid resistance in horn flies is widespread. However there is a way to combat parasite resistance: In laboratory studies, use of alternating insecticides or a mixture of insecticides delayed the onset of resistance for up to 12 generations and reduced the magnitude of pyrethroid resistance. In short, a carefully managed treatment ‘rotation strategy’ between chemical classes could help minimize and combat resistance.
You may find this article from Clemson University to be helpful in further understanding chemical resistance in horn flies:https://www.secattleadvisor.com/2014/04/10/horn-fly-control-dealing-with-insecticide-resistance/
STARTLING CATTLE: Will it spook my cows?
A: We’ve had thousands of people treat cows and the feedback is consistent that VetGun does not spook them. They may flinch or jump and take a couple of steps but will go right back to eating. It is best to put some feed or hay out to keep them occupied while treating. Work around the cows as you would normally handle them to reduce stress. Blank fire the VetGun a few times around the cattle to condition them to the sound, it is not something they will have heard before. After 5 or so times they will start getting used to it and not pay any further attention. In many instances, cattle start associating the dry-firing sound to that of a treat, and actively start approaching you in anticipation of some feed or hay.
SPEED: How many cattle is it possible to dose in an hour?
A: If you use our recommended Best Practice to properly habituate your cattle, dosing more than 100 cattle per hour has been regularly achieved. Naturally this will differ according to individual circumstances, terrain, handling techniques and cattle temperament.
TIMING: When should I dose my cattle with AIM-L?
A: Horn Fly season varies throughout the US, starting initially in the South East around 1 March (refer detailed Season Map in Section 22 ‘When to treat’ ). The consensus amongst experts is that around 200 flies per animal is the economic threshold to begin treatment. For more information about horn flies and estimating their numbers, refer Section 21 ‘Horn Flies 101’.
VIABILITY: I only have a few cows, is it still cost viable to buy a VetGun?
A: Many producers with few cattle don’t have the best or right handling facilities. Even with the best facilities; just treating 20 cows can take several people several hours with alternative methods. With VetGun, we’ve had reports of individual ranchers taking just 10 minutes to treat 20 head. It furthermore only takes saving the potential production losses on approximately 5 animals to pay for their investment in the VetGun. Also see ‘EXPENSIVE’ rationale above.
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