There are several different methods to worming cattle. Using tobacco was one of many dewormers used in the past.
Judging from the discussion that's appeared in MOTHER's
letters column over the past couple years, it seems that a
good many folks have settled on the feeding of diatomaceous
earth as a satisfactory method of worming their livestock.
Well, I don't say that this technique won't work ... but it
scares me, and I know I certainly would never try
this with any animals that I valued. Diatomaceous
earth — which consists of the tiny, glasslike,
sharpedged skeletons of microscopic sea animals called
diatoms — works by entering the parasite's
internal system and ripping it to shreds. Who's to say It
won't do the same to your animal's digestive tract?
I know of another, safer method of worming
livestock ... one that my dad used for years. All it
involves is giving the afflicted animal a bit of
snuff in its normal ration of grain.
Why snuff? Well, if you were to read the label from a
commercial worm medicine, chances are you'd find that the
treatment consists mainly of powdered tobacco (probably 80
to 90 percent powdered tobacco, plus some antibiotics and
fillers). OK. So why should you pay $1 or $1.50 for a
half-ounce tube of doctored-up tobacco ... when
you can buy a four-ounce tin of Levi Garrett snuff
—which is nothing more than powdered tobacco
anyway — for less than a buck? Why indeed!
In my experience, snuff works as well as any worming
medicine you can get from a vat ... and It's probably a
good deal safer to use than most such medicines. To rid
your horse, cow, hog, or other large stock of parasites,
here's all you have to do: Mix an ounce or so of snuff
with a scoop of feed, give the mixture to your
afflicted animal, and keep the beast penned up for most
of the day. Within an hour of the feeding, the animal
should begin to pass large, seething masses of stomach
worms in its feces. (When it does, sterilize the wastes by
pouring a little kerosene or used motor oil on them.)
The advantage of worming with snuff is that while the
tobacco acts to kill parasites, it's completely harmless to
livestock. (in addition, tobacco's cathartic action causes
the animal to pass the dead — and dying — worms out
of its digestive system quickly ... which is something
diatomaceous earth doesn't do.)
The kerosene (or motor oil) you pour on the infected wastes
kills any adult worms that the tobacco missed and kills the
eggs (something, again, that diatomite won't do), thus
lowering the chance of reinfestation.
In case you didn't know it, most farm animals love
tobacco. So don't feel bad about feeding them snuff ... or
even an occasional unfiltered cigarette. You'll not only
make your beasties happy, but you'll keep them worm-free
Editors Note: Tobacco contains nicotine sulfate, which kills the worms in livestock. However, if given too much, it could be harmful to the livestock and make them sick. Today, there are more modern dewormers available that are less harmful to livestock and still effective. Always check with your local veterinarian before administering dewormers to livestock.