Vet Watch

Charlie Lambert

charlie lambert

Lambert, Leonard and May, Cheshire

  • The dairy farmers in Shropshire and Cheshire have yet again kept us working to capacity this spring here at Lambert, Leonard and May.

Although we have great intentions of providing a more involved service to our clients by the way of disease prevention and herd health planning, cattle values remain so high that our “fire brigade service” is as busy as ever.

Fertility continues to be a major headache in the large Holstein herds and many clients have installed electronic heat detection aids, which pick up abnormal increases in individual cow locomotion at oestrous.

The submission rates on these farms have increased significantly to the point where most “non-bullers” presented on these units at routine visits are either cystic or acyclic.

Peter Morley

peter morley

The Shepton Vet Group, Shepton Mallet

  • We have seen stray voltage problems on four farms over the past 10 years as a result of poorly earthed or poorly wired parlours.

Cows do not want to come in to the parlour to be milked, when they know they are going to get these shocks. So the first sign is a reluctance to enter the parlour. It is almost as if someone has painted a red line at the entrance which they must not cross.

Once they are brought in, and in most cases this requires an extra person, they are nervous and apprehensive, so there is a lot of mucking and urination in the parlour. The milk let-down reflex is poor, as cows are frightened and once the milking unit is attached, the milk flow can be poor. Cows often kick off the units if they feel any tingle.

The combination of lots of muck, a poor let-down reflex and under-milked cows results in a reduction in yield and an increase in clinical mastitis, cell count and Bactoscan.

James Frayne

james frayne

Millcroft Vet Group, Cumbria

  • The recent training course for the Livestock Northwest health planning initiative was a valuable opportunity to meet other vets and advisers from the region. It was a chance to share best practice and the benefits of a team approach to problems on farm.

One of the topics highlighted was the thorny issue of Johne’s disease. This is a problem on most farms now and we are diagnosing cases on a regular basis. As the disease is untreatable, prevention of infection is the only option for control.

Colostrum management, calving hygiene, testing and culling are all important in reducing its impact in beef and dairy herds. Control measures are also likely to have the benefit of reducing calf diseases, such as scour, navel and joint ill.

Roger Scott

roger scott

Scott Mitchell Associates, Tyne Green, Hexham

  • A few weeks ago the price of bluetongue vaccine was pretty stable – there were three manufacturers producing it and the price was largely the same.

Despite our northerly position, where allegedly our midges beat up soft southern midges, there was a good proportion of farmers doing the decent thing and vaccinating. Howwever, there were also quite a few who didn’t. But few of them blamed vaccine price, with most blaming a lack of time and labour.

A few weeks later the market was suddenly hit by DEFRA’s half-price “short-shelf-life” vaccine. This was an even cheaper alternative for farmers, but for cattle men that had used an alternative vaccine the year before it was not going to be possible to “boost” with this product. Suddenly the view of farmers changed, with many suggesting price was an important issue and few wanting to pay full price for non-DEFRA vaccine. As we say here in the north east – howay lads – just do it.

* All participating vets are members of XLVets, a group of farm animal committed practices who work together, alongside commercial research and manufacturing companies. They aim to share best practice on advice and disease prevention initiatives

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