9 June 1995

Familys huge vet bill

NEOSPORA cost one Lancashire dairy farming family £1000 a month in vet fees last year.

Forty of its 100 cows aborted at between three and seven months of pregnancy.

It has since had difficulties getting cows back in calf and has had to cull several as barreners. The family has had to buy in milkers to maintain what was a closed herd.

It tested its herd for and vaccinated against leptospirosis; checked for mineral deficiencies, analysed feed, and local vets tested aborted foetuses All checks failed to identify a cause. Eventually Liverpool University tests found that neuospora was common in the aborting cattle. It also tested a calf test positive for neospora.

With this years calving now underway, the family has had three cows abort but as yet no first-calvers.

It was hoping to cull infected animals and restock but now it is clear cattle can pick up the parasite in the environment this is not an option.

It wonders whether there is a link between the neospora infection and the increasing fox population in the area.