Vet Watch: roundup of regional health issues

BridgetBridget Taylor, Wright and Morten, Cheshire

Antibiotics are in the news again. As vets, we constantly review the products we use and how they are used on farm. Antibiotic resistance has serious implications for human and animal health. Irrespective of the evidence there may or may not be about resistance in human pathogens originating from use of antibiotics on farm, there are threats to limit our freedom to continue prescribing antibiotics where we believe they are necessary.

Antibiotics should only be used following advice from your vet. You should follow the label instructions and always complete the prescribed course. If you are not seeing an improvement in the condition being treated within 48 hours, then you should contact your vet. Remember to identify treated animals clearly, record the treatments in your medicines records and observe milk and meat withhold times.

Julia James, Larkmead Veterinary Group

Over the last month we have been busy, along with other pig vet practices, promoting the Pig Health Improvement Project. Following on from successful regional schemes the PHIP became a national strategy in the summer. The aim of the project is for producers, alongside their vets and others in the allied industry, to reduce the incidence of disease in their pig herds. By joining the scheme, producers receive free BPHS abattoir reports which help to monitor subclinical disease on farm. Farmers will also have access to local health mapping, raising awareness of any local pig health issues as well as a biosecurity audit.

Nearly 50 pig farmers joined our last meeting. Following this, several cluster groups of farmers and their vet have formed to discuss disease issues relevant to their area.

MatthewBerriman2Matthew Berriman, Rosevean Veterinary Practice, Cornwall

Wintery weather has returned and in the South West the number of pneumonia cases has begun to increase. Blood testing is showing the most common viral causes are RSV and PI3. Strategic vaccination has been of considerable benefit on many farms, especially those which have kept up with the vaccination programme.

Ventilation assessments have shown many sheds lack outlet area. The stack effect does not work, so that viruses and bacteria are not removed quickly from the shed and move from calf to calf. Increasing these outlet areas has had a dramatic effect in reducing incidence of pneumonia cases.

Reducing the amount of water in sheds can also help reduce pneumonia cases. So its important to fix roof leaks, water troughs and make sure the shed drains well.

steve trickeySteve Trickey, Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership, Norfolk

With the news that Anglia Water are implementing their drought plan to start filling reservoirs, the dry weather we are still experiencing is enabling our clients to keep cattle outside still without too much poaching. This is certainly helping straw supplies. However, due to the shortage and quality of the straw, we are seeing an increase in the cases of clinical mastitis, mostly associated with Strep uberis and the knock-on effect this can have on cell counts.

Mastitis and high cell counts in down-calving heifers is also being seen, which is due to bacteria invading the udders before calving as a result of poor quality straw being used for bedding.

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