Suckler cow and calves ©Tim Scrivener©Tim Scrivener

Schmallenberg has been identified in spring calving suckler herds in the South West, according to reports.

Vet Keith Cutler from Endell Vet Group, said in the last two weeks he had seen about eight deformed calves from the Schmallenberg virus.  He said other vets in the region had also reported suspect cases.

Mr Cutler believed animals calving down now would have been infected at the back-end of last year when they were mid-way through pregnancy.

See also: A quick guide to Schmallenberg virus 

Schmallenberg has not widely been reported in lambs this year and Mr Cutler hoped the infection period would have happened before ewes went to the tup.

“Spring lambers are only just starting down in the South West and if the challenge happened in October, it may have been before the ewes got pregnant.”

Mr Cutler said uptake of the Schmallenberg vaccine last year wasn’t great, partly on the back of another midge borne disease Bluetongue which went away in the second year following vaccination. Mr Cutler said he wasn’t even sure about the availability of Schmallenberg vaccine.

Farmers worried about Schmallenberg should speak to their vet. A serosurveillance of dams would identify whether they had been exposed to the virus.

See also: Video – Schmallenberg, a sheep farmer’s story