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Home Application Methods for Cattle

Application Methods for Cattle

There are a variety of application methods for administering chemical products to cattle. Each product is formulated to ensure that the application method will transfer the chemical to a location that will affect the target parasite, e.g. direct contact via the skin or uptake as the parasite ingests host blood, plasma or tissue. More options are available for treating external parasites (flies, ticks, lice and mites) than internal parasites (roundworms, tapeworms and flukes). The different application methods are listed below.

Methods to treat cattle against worms

  1. Oral
  2. Pour-on
  3. Subcutaneous injection

Methods to treat cattle against ticks

  1. Pour-on
  2. Subcutaneous injection
  3. Dip
  4. Spray
  5. Ear tags (aids in control of paralysis tick only)

Methods to treat cattle against lice and mites

  1. Pour-on
  2. Subcutaneous injection (kills sucking lice only)
  3. Oral (kills sucking lice only)
  4. Dip
  5. Spray
  6. Dust/powder
  7. Ear tags (cost effective if integrated with buffalo fly control)

Methods to treat cattle against flies

  1. Ear tags
  2. Pour-on
  3. Spray
  4. Dip
  5. Back rubber

Choosing an application method

In addition to cost, the decision process should include:

  • Maximum efficacy in killing the targeted parasite(s).
  • Accuracy and consistency of applying the required dose.
  • Avoid affecting non-target parasites.
  • Labour requirement and efficiency.
  • Minimise physical input.
  • Be easy to administer (advanced training not required).
  • Available infrastructure and equipment.
  • Have a low human safety risk.
  • Have a low environmental risk.


Oral drenching has been around for a long time. It is a heavy physical job requiring cattle holding infrastructure such as yards, raceways, head bailing equipment and a degree of skill. An alternative might be a pour-on product. The pour-on product is easier to apply, but may result in less accurate dosing.

Chemical actives will vary in their effect on the different parasite groups depending on their formulation and application method. For help in selecting a product to treat specific parasites, use the interactive Paraboss tool by selecting the relevant ‘Parasite and Animal’:

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