What’s the Best Pour-On For Winter Lice Control?

Dr. Steve Dudley

17 Dec 2021

As cold weather approaches, it’s time to start thinking about lice control in cattle. These parasitic nuisances can cause all kinds of problems from hair loss to reduced weight gain.

Watch Dr. Steve Dudley,  FBN® head of technical services and a practicing veterinarian with Southwest Veterinary Services, to learn more about the problems lice create, the different pour-ons available on the market and how to use those pour-ons.

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Lice on cattle

Lice are the most common external and visible parasites that can present challenges to livestock producers. including irritation and potential loss of production, so preventing and treating them is important. 

Clinical symptoms from lice  include:

  • Intense irritation which causes itching and scratching resulting in loss of hair and also damage to facilities and equipment

  • Reduced weight gain

  • Potential anemia from blood loss

Types of cattle lice

There are two types of cattle lice — biting lice and sucking lice.Biting lice have flat heads and they primarily feed on dandruff and skin debris. They are more difficult to control with problems that are systemic and go through the whole body.Sucking lice have long snouts that feed on blood. 

Lice are spread by direct contact but don’t survive long when they’re not attached to animals. Cattle types of lice do not affect humans. 

Cattle louse life cycle

The life cycle of lice in cattle occurs over a 4-6 week time period. Lice lay eggs on day 1 and by day 7, those eggs have developed. They develop into a nymph stage that lasts for approximately 7 to 21 days. Once a louse reaches the adult stage, it can start to lay eggs in 7 to 14 days and then the cycle starts over again. 

Lice are primarily cool season pests that cause more problems in the winter because cattle have thicker coats and insulation.It’s estimated that 1 louse in September can result in 1 million in January if cattle are left untreated. It’s important to proactively treat cattle for lice.

Lice pour-ons available 

There are several lice pour-ons on the market and we’ve compared a few of the common ones below:

Clean-Up™ II is a good product because it offers season long lice control with a single application. It kills all stages of the louse and both biting and sucking lice. It is approved for lactating and non-lactating dairy cattle, beef cattle, calves and horses. It should be noted that Clean-Up II is toxic to aquatic organisms such as fish so you’ll want to minimize any run off when using this product. 

The recommended dosage is 3 ml per 100 lbs of body weight and you shouldn’t use more than 30 ml per animal. We recommend that you not only pour it along the back line of the animal, but also on the animal’s poll/face. This may require the person working the headgate to have their own application bottle and gun. The product spreads through the skin via oil.

Stock up on lice pour-ons

For more information or to purchase lice control products directly from FBN, please visit the Animal Health store to stock up and save.


The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your animals.

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Clean-Up is a trademark of Bayer. Cydectin is a registered trademark of Elanco US, Inc. Dectomax is a registered trademark of Zoetis Services LLC. Ivomec and Eprinex are registered trademarks of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc.

Dr. Steve Dudley

17 Dec 2021