Vet Watch: a regional round-up of key veterinary issues

Bob Norquay
Northvet Veterinary Group, Orkney

This year Orkney cattle were turned out earlier than usual. This meant a rush to get last minute pre-turnout jobs done, such as castrating, dehorning and BVD testing. Increasingly more farmers are having their bulls examined for fertility- a useful check for all bulls. Some of these bulls can suffer a decline in fertility for various reasons and we estimate one in five bulls are not what the farmer thinks they are.

Eilidh Sellars
Armour Vet Centre, Ayrshire

Spring has been the usual mix of routine work as well as an increased number of operations for displaced abomasums. We have spent the last few months screening our herds as part of the Scottish Government’s BVD Eradication Scheme. Results have been variable – as we expected. We have been encouraged by the number of farms with positive BVD screens that have decided to actively look for persistently infected (PI) animals and remove them. These farms should see improvements in fertility and general calf health.

For this scheme to be successful it will require an effective vaccination policy and biosecurity improvements.

Rob Smith
Farm First Veterinary Service Monmouthshire

This time of year brings the usual rash of sudden deaths in cattle, old and young. We do carry out the obligatory anthrax test, which is normally negative. Following thunderstorms, farmers often blame lightening strike (which is difficult to prove).

For adults and suckling beef calves on lush pasture, grass staggers would be a consideration. For growing animals then clostridial disease such as blackleg could be important. Recently, we saw two sudden deaths in suckler calves that turned out to be lead poisoning. The farmer had been doing some fencing work and had pulled a battery out of the hedge and unfortunately left it in the field.

Ian Gill
Thrums Veterinary Group, Angus

The National Animal Disease Information Service is suggesting an average worm risk in England and Wales, but the SAC forecast a worsening situation in Scotland.

A peak of infection in June is forecast for Scotland. Lambs dosed in late April may need another dose now along with April born lambs starting to graze.

Benzimadazoles (BZ) is the drug of choice for the first lamb drench of the season even in flocks with BZ resistance in other worm species. Faecal samples should also be checked for coccidiosis.

Possible benzimidazole (BZ) anthelmintic resistance is being investigated in UK to Nematodirus battus, although it seems uncommon. However, it is advisable to check post-treatment faecal egg counts to confirm that treatment has been effective.