This month’s roundup of vet issues from across the country

Rose Jackson, Scarsdale Vet Group Derby

It is no longer a legal requirement to test dairy cows that have aborted for brucellosis as they are tested monthly on a bulk milk sample.

However, if you are experiencing an ‘abortion storm’ (more than 10% of calvings aborting within three months), your vet still needs to carry out a BS7 (abortion enquiry).

Beef herds should also report all abortions to DEFRA.

An abortion can be defined as a calving less than 271 days after the AI or service date. After this your vet will carry out a free visit to take a blood sample and swab.

It is also useful to send the aborted foetus plus it’s membranes to your regional vet lab. Most causes of abortion are non-infectious. However, it is still important to rule out the most important infectious diseases to protect your entire herd.

Richard Morris, Fenwold Vet Practice, Lincolnshire

We have seen a rise in over-sized calves and calving difficulties this spring. Problems have included retained membranes, dead calves, recumbent cows with muscle/nerve damage, prolapses, broken front legs in calves and frustrated vets.

With good continental calves worth about £200 at birth the decision for a caesarean section is economically viable. If the decision is made early success rates are generally high. Signs that a caesarean may be necessary include cases where the head is not present with the legs in the vagina before traction is applied, feet not lying side by side but crossed over instead and little or no progress with the calving aid after three or four attempts. Post operative care is however vital.

John Kirk, Glenthorne Vets, Staffordshire

A suspicion from a client “I think she might be wired”. These are the cases which keep life interesting and memorable. VLA evidence points to tyre wire from silage clamps being the major source, but it can be surprising what can be recovered at surgery.

Most consistent symptoms include, malaise, ill thrift/weight loss, mild pyrexia, milk drop and a hollow rumen, although they are all a bit vague. Additional cow tests include reluctance to sink on withers pinch, elicit grunt with bar pressure under sternum, muffled heart and distended jugulars.

It’s important to treat with confinement, pain relief, antibiotics and a magnet bolus or exploratory surgery. However, prevention is always better by tidying up the farm.

Sam Baldwyn, Hook Norton Vets, Oxfordshire

More cases of fluke are being diagnosed at abattoirs in cattle and sheep this year. By treating for both worms and fluke from eight weeks post turn out, as well as the traditional treatment at housing, you will not only reduce damage to the liver but will also help to control re-infection of the pasture.

The immature burrowing stage of the fluke causes most damage, so it is important to choose a fluckicide that is effective at this stage. In some cases, liveweight gain can be reduced by up to 1.2kg a week in cattle. Don’t forget to treat bought in stock too.

With the introduction of a new “orange” generation of sheep wormer with no identified resistance, any farms where there have been previous resistance problems take note. We are recommending one treatment annually for each flock, as well as all bought-in animals.

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