Vet Viewpoint: Complications after lambing and calving

In this round-up of livestock health issues from across the country, representatives from the XL Vets Group highlight some of the complications faced by farmers post lambing and calving.

This month’s vets offer advice on a range of issues including the best approach to correcting left displaced abomasum (LDA).

Meanwhile, vets report that farmers continue to reel from the warm, wet winter with cases of pneumonia in cattle yards.

Barry Cooper, Paragon Veterinary Group, Carlisle, Cumbria

Working in a predominantly dairy-based practice, we often see diseases arising during the transition period, with left displaced abomasums (LDAs) being one such example.

There are several corrective techniques described. However, as we attempt to minimise costs while maintaining the highest level of animal care, endoscopic correction has strong benefits and we are routinely conducting more of these.

A keyhole technique is used, performed through a 12mm hole in the cow’s flank while a camera visualises the target area through an 8mm hole. Advantages to this technique include:

  • Minimally invasive
  • Good visualisation without the complications of open surgery
  • Minimal/nil milk withdrawals
  • Increased milk yields compared with conventional surgery
  • No extra time or cost than standard surgery
  • Faster clinical recovery than right-sided omentopexy

Harriet Ellis, Ardene House Vet Practice, Aberdeen, Scotland

Docking and castrating are common practice, but may not be entirely necessary; if lambs are to be slaughtered before June then there is a low risk of fly strike, and pregnancy is not a concern at this young age, so neither are essential.

Lambs experience pain from these procedures which may affect growth rate; avoiding these will therefore prevent any stunt in growth. 

Mark Spilman, Bishopton Veterinary Group, Ripon, Yorkshire

We are already planning for the breeding season. This means making sure we have enough bull power and that bulls in the team are all capable of good results.

We use bull-side visual assessment of semen density and motility, but also transport a chilled sample back to the practice to run through our lab to measure the fertility of the semen sample.

As AI becomes more commonplace, it remains necessary to know the fertility of the sire you are using for serving cows too. We therefore also test AI straws through the lab and carry out poor performance investigations in dairy and beef herds.