Ian Gill, Thrums Vets, Angus
A great deal of research into animal health, production and welfare is carried out in the UK, but many of these ideas take several years to be implemented on farm.
In an attempt to help bridge this so called “valley of death” between the lab and the marketplace, XLVets has formed a collaboration with the Moredun Foundation. This initiative will see the two organisations sharing information for the benefit of farmers and their stock. This will also allow feedback of problems to the scientists.
One way XLVets bring this new knowledge on to the farms is through the Farmskills and Agritrain courses. Another way is by attending the Moredun Animal Health autumn road shows. So the next time you have a health and production problem or solution, tell your vet so that together we can bridge this gap.
Jake Lawson, Kingsway Vets, Skipton
Being the newest vet in the practice, I’ve been spending a lot of time TB testing recently. I was involved in a local meeting with speakers from the AHVLA, local vets and a member of the TB advisory group for England (TBEG) to discuss what is going on, and how best to control TB coming into our area. They showed that the recent outbreaks had all come from cattle moved from yearly testing interval areas and assured us it would not be in the wildlife yet. Their advice was to avoid buying in from these areas, as even with pre-movement testing, these animals pose a significantly increased risk of bringing TB on to your farm. Not bringing cattle that have spent any part of their lifetime in these high-incidence areas on to your farm is the best way of minimising the risk TB. I’m glad to say the increased testing in the area appears to be working, with no further cases reported in the past few weeks.
Steve Trickey, Chapelton Vets, Norfolk
Although everyone is busy with harvest, either combining or straw carting, we are still managing to continue to meet up with our farmers who have taken part in BVD FREE Programme for England. Following on from the blood testing of youngstock, we now know the current status of BVD infection on each farm. Fortunately, the majority of farms tested are showing no evidence of BVD, and as none of these currently vaccinate, the main focus of the discussions is biosecurity and how we make sure we keep BVD out. On the positive BVD farms, implementing plans to find the persistently infected (PI) animals is key to eradicating BVD. This will involve either blood sampling or the use of tissue-sampling ear tags. The ear tags provide a cost-effective way of looking for virus-positive animals. The advice for any PI animal found would be to cull it as soon as possible to prevent further infection spreading to other cattle.
Bill Main, Belmont Vets, Herefordshire
The recent prolonged hot and dry July has now been followed by some days with torrential rainfall and flooding, but it has stayed warm.
Consequently, we are anticipating outbreaks of lungworm in our client’s cattle and parasitic gastroenteritis in the lambs.
The rain will not only help the grass grow, but it will also help all those worm larvae – developed from eggs laid earlier this spring and summer – to climb to the top of the herbage ready to be eaten by susceptible animals. The wetness now after such a long, hot spell will mean a huge infection challenge to all susceptible animals, usually this year’s lambs and cattle in their first grazing season, but increasingly we are seeing it in adult dairy cows at grass where their immunity has waned.
So any coughing of your cattle at grass, take note. And similarly it is a good time to send in some pooled faecal lamb samples to check out their status.