Know How / Livestock diseases

Expert advice on identifying and treating livestock diseases such as BVD, Johne’s disease, leptospirosis in cattle, navel ill in calves, orf in sheep, watery mouth in lambs and swine fever in pigs. See the latest thinking on controlling parasitic diseases and worms such as liver fluke and lungworm.

Advice and tips


Sheep scab: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Sheep scab is a major threat to the sheep industry, impacting on growth rates and causing serious welfare implications. Its prevalence has increased in the past 20 years following its…


Advice on tackling scour during lambing and calving

Diarrhoea or scour is the most common disease in young animals and, as a result, is the greatest single cause of poor growth and mortality. The direct cost of treating…


A guide to setting up a bovine TB isolation unit

Farmers looking for workable, high-welfare solutions for rearing calves during a bovine TB breakdown should consider making the most of a TB isolation unit.  Many farmers are retaining higher numbers…


Guide to preventing enzootic abortion in ewes

Enzootic abortion, also known as chlamydial abortion, is caused by infection with the bacteria Chlamydophila abortus. The bacteria damages the placenta and reduces the transfer of nutrients to the growing lamb…

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Case studies


5 farmer tips for setting up a TB isolation unit

Setting his farm up as a TB isolation unit (IU) has proved a successful business model for Cheshire farmer Ben Paterson. Mr Paterson, who runs Blackthorn Farm, Mobberly, buys three-to-six-week-old…


Steps farmers are taking to reduce bovine TB risk

Simple, inexpensive steps can cut TB risks by limiting cow and badger transmission. Sometimes, another pair of eyes is required to identify risks you may not notice. We speak to…


How a dairy farm is controlling mycoplasma using vaccination

Mycoplasma bovis is the number one cause of pneumonia in calves in the UK as well as causing mastitis and arthritis in older animals. It is difficult to treat and…


How one sheep farmer eliminated watery mouth and joint ill

Matthew Isaac has reduced cases of watery mouth and joint ill at lambing to nothing by using good bacteria to keep infections at bay.   Mr Isaac, who runs a…

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Badger cull 'exit strategy' raises TB disease control fears

The government has confirmed it will no longer issue licences for intensive badger culling from 2022, as part of efforts to tackle bovine TB in England. And the practice will…


Next phase in Defra bovine TB strategy explained

After months in the making, the government has launched its latest consultation (PDF) on the next stages of its strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038. The eight-week…


Cranswick half-year profits soar

Meat processor Cranswick has posted a 31% increase in half-yearly profits to almost £61m. The Hull-based company exports pigmeat and supplies chicken and pork products to British retailers.   Figures…

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Row breaks out over new Johne's disease test arrangements

Pedigree beef cattle breeders are concerned that changes to Checs testing arrangements for Johne’s disease, due to take effect from 1 July, will affect values and could be counterproductive. The…


Cattle health body launches new approach to TB

A new tool to help farmers tackle TB has been launched by the cattle health certification standards regulatory body Checs. The TB entry level membership scheme is designed to enable…


Antibiotics use far lower in organic livestock, survey finds

Organic farms have much lower average levels of antibiotics use than those found in all UK livestock units, according to new research (PDF). A survey, commissioned by the Alliance to…


Interactive map offers swine flu tracker

Farmers and vets can track swine flu across Europe using a new interactive map. This will help them make correct diagnoses and decide on appropriate prevention and vaccination programmes, according…

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FW Opinion: Wider review of slurry role in bovine TB needed

Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Brian May has shared with Farmers Weekly in some detail how, working with vet Dick Sibley, he has helped a Devon dairy farm regain…

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Test and reviews


Buyer's guide to ketone testers for dairy farmers

Simple and quick tests that measure ketone levels in dairy cows are allowing farmers to act promptly with interventions to protect milk yields and herd performance. Subclinical ketosis can’t be…


Buyer's guide: Teat disinfection technology

As herd sizes increase and labour sourcing continues to create challenges, more farmers are turning to automated teat disinfection technologies to ease pressure in the parlour and promote efficiencies. Although…

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Video: How to use orf vaccine correctly on sheep

About one in five lambs – 900,000 – are affected by the highly contagious orf virus in England’s sheep flock each year according to MSD Animal Health. Added to that…


Video: Brian May's Gatcombe Farm project gets TB-free status

A new approach to disease control on a dairy farm in Devon – taking out infective cows and minimising exposure to slurry – has seen the herd attain TB-free status…


Antimicrobial resistance: How it works and why it's important

Antimicrobial resistance, and specifically antibiotics resistance, are high on the agenda for animal agriculture and veterinary medicine. Government and industry targets have been set for antibiotics reduction and antibiotics use is…


Video: How farmers are uniting to eradicate sheep scab

Sheep scab is a huge problem and if left untreated can affect a sheep's health and severely impact a sheep business. One mite is enough to spread the disease and…

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