19 January 1996

Cleanliness to cut salmonella

SALMONELLA incidence – on the increase in some parts of the country (News, Jan 12) often signals a basic farm hygiene problem.

The reason, says Devon vet Richard Sibley, is that dung is the bacterias main carrier. So keep the farm clean and to reduce outbreaks avoid feeding a contaminated diet. Vaccination, as a preventative measure, is also recommended.

"Use a different tractor to that used for scaping down the yard to fill the feeder. That will reduce the chance of dung dirtying feed," he says. Outbreaks often occur in closed herds via contaminated slurry spread on neighbouring farms leaching into watercourses.

Affected cows may need antibiotic treatment. After an outbreak Brian Wilson, a partner in the Cheshire-based practice Wilson, McWilliam and Partners, urges producers to vaccinate all animals. He recommends using Bovivac. When vaccinating the first time a second injection is needed a month later. This will provide 12 months of protection – thereafter an annual booster is needed.

Beware of high temperatures, bad scours which are often bloody, abortions and very sick cows.