The Drove Vet Hospital, Swindon
For farmers in the south west, there is an exciting initiative starting – The Healthy Livestock project, part of the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative (SWHLI). This is funded through the Rural Development Programme for England, from the EU and DEFRA, and is available for 2.5 years for specific ruminant disease advice.
Projects are available for holdings in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the former county of Avon.
The disease areas involved are mastitis, BVD, Johnes, lameness and respiratory disease and up to 70% funding is available with the rest to be paid by farmers.
Find out whether your vet is involved by calling them – it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
Alnorthumbria Vet Group, Alnwick
We have held a number of autumn workshops offering advice and practical demonstrations on best practice for weaning and housing of calves. However, outbreaks of pneumonia remain an annual problem. Look out for reduced feed intake as an indicator of an impending outbreak. Early intervention will increase the range of treatment options available. Fresh cases, animals with a high temperature but not yet affected by a snotty nose, are suitable candidates for sampling by means of nasal swabs and lung washes. The identification of specific viruses or bacteria then allows us to tailor a treatment plan for the farm, which could then include group vaccination as well as treatment for sick individuals.
Rosevean Vet Practice, Penzance
We frequently see serious problems associated with BVD virus and have diagnosed a number of persistently infected (PI) animals recently. The biggest biosecurity risk is bought in animals. When buying any animal in it is important they are quarantined and blood tested for BVD and other infectious diseases.
When PI animals are brought into vaccinated herds, this can also cause problems. Vaccination is effective, but can be overcome in the face of a PI animal excreting large amounts of virus. To fully control BVD in a herd it is essential to remove the PI animals as well as vaccinating. Blood testing yearlings can tell you if PI animals are likely to be present in the herd.
Friars Moor Vet Clinic, Sturminster
The practice is once again seeing its busiest period for TB testing as the herds are being brought in for the winter. With the future of testing currently looking uncertain I would urge people to think about the benefits of having your vet perform your test.
Very rarely do I come away from a farm where I have been testing without having also done some PDs or been asked to look at an off-colour cow or a batch of coughing calves.
The TB test is not just a means of controlling TB – it is an ideal time to raise any concerns that you may have and to discuss any aspects of herd health that you may not ordinarily want to especially call the vet out to.
All contributing vets are members of XLVets, a group of vet practices which work together, alongside commercial research and manufacturing companies. They aim to share best practice on advice and disease prevention initiatives.