NADIS disease forecast - cattle (June) - Farmers Weekly

Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £133
Saving £46
In print AND tablet

SUBSCRIBE NOW

sub_ad_img

NADIS disease forecast – cattle (June)

The NADIS disease forecast is based on detailed Met Office data, and regional veterinary reports from 37 farm animal practices and the large animal units at six UK veterinary colleges.

NADIS data can highlight potential livestock disease and parasite incidences before they peak, providing a valuable early warning for the month ahead.

NADIS disease bulletins are written specifically for farmers,
to increase awareness of prevalent conditions and promote disease prevention and control,
in order to benefit animal health and welfare.
Farmers are advised to discuss their individual farm circumstances with their veterinary surgeon.

June 2005

Richard Laven PhD BVetMed MRCVS

Fertility
Most fertility problems decreased in June. In particular, the proportion of cows not seen bulling decreased and, provided the weather remains OK in July, this is likely to continue as the effects of turnout lessen. However, oestrus detection remains vital and it’s important to ensure that temporary staff employed during the holiday period can identify bulling cows.
However, this spring was a difficult time for many cows, so even  when the grass grows rapidly there will be some cows that will not be able to meet their requirements from grass alone. In particular cows that have had calving problems (the number of which has been relatively high this year) are going to need special attention to ensure that they produce their full yield potential without compromising their fertility.
Indeed calving is one area for potential problems in July. Calving problems in this month are often associated with oversized calves and overfat dry cows (the latter being particularly common when the season is good and rapid grass growth occurs. Checking the condition of your dry cows regularly can prevent overfat cows at calving. Fat cows don’t just have more difficult calvings. They are more prone to most diseases that occur in early lactation such as metritis, mastitis, and lameness, and they produce less milk. Much of this is due to fat deposition in the liver (“fatty liver”).
There have been reports this year of several farms with low bulk milk urea. In most cases this is because the f protein and energy in the grazed grass is well balanced. These low urea results are not leading to poor fertility or reduced production; so unless you have an obvious production problem don’t worry about low ureas.

Lameness
June was a variable month weatherwise although relatively dry.. This has meant that the main lameness problems have continued at or below average as they have all year. The main problems to look out for are foul-in-the –foot if we get wet warm conditions and white line problems on farms where cattle have to walk considerable distances, particularly on stony tracks. The number of cases of digital dermatitis tend to decrease during the summer but outbreaks still occur. If you have more than the odd case of summer dermatitis get your vet to investigate so that you can identify the causes and get the number of cases down.

Metabolic disease

Milk fever is a common problem for cattle during the summer, particularly in the later part of the season. So far this year, milk fever levels have been 15% above average, so if you have cows drying off in July and August it’s time to look at prevention now. Milk fever is closely linked to dry cow management. It’s important to ensure that cows don’t gain condition during the dry period. If necessary, buffer feed dry cows as this will prevent cows gaining condition and allow you to control calcium intake.

Other metabolic diseases may be less important than milk fever but prevention is still important. Grass staggers is is less common in July and August but still kills a significant number of cows. Making sure that cows get enough magnesium every day will prevent grass staggers and also help reduce the number of cases of milk fever.

The number of displaced abomasums reported by NADIS vets so far this year has been slightly less than the record levels of last year, however, they there have still been more than twice as many cases this year than the average. The increase in cases has meant that the condition which was rare in the summer is now as common  as it used to be in the peak months of spring. Watch out for calving cows which do not perform to expectations and get them checked out by a vet as soon as possible. The sooner displaced abomasums are treated the quicker the cow will return to near normal production.

Mastitis

Cases of summer mastitis have been reported already this year (particularly in heifers) but July is usually the first month where a significant number of cases are seen so there is still time to get your control plan for summer mastitis in place.  Damp warm conditions will enhance the hatching and activity of the flies that spread the disease and unless preventive measures such as teat sealing or sealants, dry cow therapy, and insect control are soon started it may be too late.

Other Disease Problems

Last year the number of cases of lungworm were far higher than average in July. July is usually the first month of the summer rise. Using long-acting wormers in calves can reduce the risk of lungworm in treated stock, but the risk of lungworm in adults can be increased. The only truly effective prevention is vaccination, however too many farms have stopped vaccinating. On many farms this does not make economic sense, one case of adult lungworm can pay for 200 doses of vaccine.  

Growing Cattle
Calving problems remain a commonly reported problem in this age of cattle. This does suggest that either heifer management or choice of bulls used is suspect. Heifers with calving problems very often do not become economically productive and are culled. This is a waste of time, effort and money. Getting calving right gives the heifer the best chance of getting in the milking herd and staying there. If you are having calving problems with your heifers, veterinary advice can save you a significant amount of money
The outlook for parasites is relatively good, provided july remains dry, with moderate levels of disease expected. However proper grazing strategies will still be required to prevent disease.

If conditions continue as at present it will not be too long before fly nuisance will become a problem and, unless controlled, it will cause other problems such as summer mastitis and New Forest eye as well as less direct effects such as poor production and feed intake. So far, except for a blip earlier in the year, the number of cases of New Forest eye have been average with a steady increase since March. This disease is thus one to watch for this month. Early treatment  is essential, so check the eyes of youngstock at pasture at least once a day.

Bloat is another problem to watch out for if conditions suit the development of clover. Acidosis was seen in one suckler herd where yearling cattle had been out at grass all winter and then suddenly placed on an intensive feeding regime.  This resulted in many deaths.  

Calf
Most calf problems reduced in June, particularly enteritis. However, like last year, there has been a very high number of reports of coccidiosis. it is important to be on the lookout for this disease, particularly  in younger calves (3 to 4 weeks of age) as this disease seems to becoming more of a problem in this age group. To achieve effective control of coccidia, good management and hygiene is vital. This should include regularly moving feed and water troughs and preventing them from being contaminated with faeces.


Copyright © NADIS 2005
www.nadis.org.uk


While every effort is made to ensure that the content of this forecast is accurate at the time of publication, NADIS cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions.
All information is general and will need to be adapted in the light of individual farm circumstances in consultation with your veterinary surgeon

 


FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS’ LINK
• To find out more
about lungworm, click here

huskvac2

FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS’ LINK
If you want to know more
about foul in the foot
click here


FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS’ LINK
Supporting British
dairy farmers

mdcbox


FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS’ LINK
Supporting British
Livestock
click here

mlclogo

NADIS disease forecast – cattle (June)

The NADIS disease forecast is based on detailed Met Office data, and regional veterinary reports from 37 farm animal practices and the large animal units at six UK veterinary colleges.

NADIS data can highlight potential livestock disease and parasite incidences before they peak, providing a valuable early warning for the month ahead.

June 2004

Richard Laven BVetMed MRCVS

 
 

NADIS Cattle Disease Forecast

Adult cattle
The relatively dry and warm conditions in May have meant that so far this year turnout has lead to a significant reduction in disease reported by NADIS vets. This means that now is a good time to get together with your vet to plan your disease control for the autumn and winter period. Action now can save significant costs later

Fertility
Oestrus not observed remained the most common fertility problem seen by NADIS vets last month. It is likely that this will continue during the rest of the grazing season, although as turnout gets further away actual numbers of cows should decrease.

Detecting bulling in cows at pasture can be very time consuming, but animals will be missed if heat is only observed when the cows are gathered for milking. Heat detection aids such as beacons and tail paint are particularly useful at this time of year.

 

The number of abortions reported by NADIS vets decreased to average levels last month. However, with three reports of brucellosis in the UK over the last year (one of which has not yet been linked to imported cattle), it is now more important than ever to inform your local Animal Health Office whenever a cow aborts.

This is a legal requirement, but getting abortions investigated is valuable for the individual farm and the cattle industry as a whole. Further investigation of abortions, in addition to the tests for brucellosis, can be very useful as effective vaccines are available for some of the most common causes of abortion.

 

Lameness
So far this year the three main causes of lameness, solar ulcer, white line disease and digital dermatitis, have all been reported at less than average rates by NADIS vets.

White line disease tends to be more common in the summer than solar ulcer, as it’s often associated with cows walking long distances between the milking parlour and the pasture. It’s thus important to properly record what causes lameness on your farm, as it can provide a good guide as to how to prevent it.

Digital dermatitis levels fell in May after turnout, but still remained a significant problem on many farms.

 

All that’s needed is a spell of wet weather and the levels of lameness, particularly foul and digital dermatitis, could be back up again

Mastitis
The dry weather meant that the number of mastitis cases reported in May fell dramatically. If significant rain falls this may reverse in June. Gateways, feeding areas and water troughs are all good sources of environmental bacteria, such as E.coli, so pay attention to these areas and try to keep them as clean as possible.

June is usually the month where the annual rise in summer mastitis cases begin, so now is the time to plan fly control and pasture management so that the risk of summer mastitis can be reduced.

 

Metabolic disease
The number of cases of metabolic disease reported fell in May, confirming the value of ‘Dr. Green’. The most dramatic fall was in the number of cases of displaced abomasum, which fell by over 50% compared to April. However the number of cases is still twice the average from 1997 – 2002. Good weather and good grass growth should keep these levels low.

Both milk fever and grass staggers remain potential problems. The peak of staggers may be over but reports do continue during the summer, particularly in areas with late lush grass growth. Keep up the supplementation (via feed or water), as the cow doesn’t store much magnesium and so a day’s intake has to match the cows daily requirements. Magnesium supplementation is also important in the prevention of milk fever, as many cows with milk fever are low in magnesium as well as calcium.

 

Other diseases
Liver fluke disease is now much less common, but now is the time to take preventative action. In fluke areas, reduce pasture contamination with fluke eggs by dosing with an adult fluke killer now. This will significantly reduce the level of disease later in the year, as keeping stock out of snail habitats (wet areas). 

Growing cattle
As in the adults missed heats was the most common fertility problem identified by NADIS vets.  Youngstock are often lowest down the list for attention, but sub-optimum fertility costs almost as much in youngstock as in adults. Cheap aids to detection such as tail paint can be particularly valuable in this group of cattle. 

Lameness due to injuries was high in both youngstock and calves. This may be a symptom of too few staff on-farm, so that not enough time is spent checking the suitability of fields before turnout.

There has been much talk about wormer resistance in sheep recently. So far problems in cattle have been limited to fluke resistance, but in order to prevent such problems it is important to look at your worming regime and develop it based on proper monitoring (particularly regular weighing and worm egg counting).

Calves
Calf scours also fell in May, primarily due to the drop in coccidiosis cases. However it was still the most commonly reported cause of diarrhoea at levels significantly above the mean.

This is likely to be the case for the next two months.  Coccidiosis is most common in housed calves, but can be seen in calves at pasture, particularly where there is a high stocking density. It is also being seen in younger calves, with animals showing signs as young as three weeks of age. 

Scour with blood and straining is the commonest sign of coccidiosis, but diagnosis is not simple, so it’s worth getting veterinary advice as soon as possible if you have an outbreak of diarrhoea.

 

Calf pneumonia is unlikely to remain a significant problem, unless June gets colder and wetter.

Fewer farms are vaccinating against lungworm. Unlike gutworms, the presence of lungworm on pasture is not very predictable. We know the conditions that increase the risk (the recent heavy thunderstorms will have spread lungworm larvae around the pasture), but there are no guarantees that any pasture is free from larvae.

If you are going to stop vaccination, careful monitoring is essential to avoid problems. Not finding larvae is almost as important as finding larvae as cattle not exposed to lungworm at an early age are still susceptible as adults, and lungworm in an adult cow is a very expensive disease.


While every effort is made to ensure that the content of this forecast is accurate at the time of publication, NADIS cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. All information is general and will need to be adapted in the light of individual farm circumstances in consultation with your veterinary surgeon

Copyright © NADIS 2002


FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS‘ LINK
• To find out more
about lungworm, click here


FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS‘ LINK

If you want to know more about summer mastitis click here…

 

FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS‘ LINK

If you want to know more about New Forest Eye click here…


SPONSORS‘ LINK
Supporting British
dairy farmers


FURTHER INFORMATION SPONSORS‘ LINK
Supporting British
Livestock
click here

 

blog comments powered by Disqus