Vet watch: A monthly round-up of vet issues around the UK

Jon Carter, Minster Vet Practice, York

The British summer never ceases to amaze me. This summer the dry weather now seems to be at an end, and as a result we are starting to see some unseasonable conditions.

With a late flush of grass growth we have already seen several individual as well as herd outbreaks of grass staggers. Similarly, while having seen few, if any, cases of lungworm this year, I expect in the next few weeks to see cases cropping up. This is due to dry weather preventing the spread of the infective stage of lungworm on pastures, which when it becomes wet is suddenly released causing cases later than normal.

Jane Anscombe, Farm First Vets, Abergavenny

We have seen several cows with severe pneumonia this summer. IBR is always high on the list of possible causes, and was diagnosed in one of these animals.

In this part of the country, we occasionally see cases of Fog Fever as we go into late summer/early autumn. Severe, respiratory distress is usually seen in adult cattle 4-10 days after they have moved onto fresh, lush pasture.

The risk of Fog Fever can be reduced by grazing pasture for only two hours daily after feeding hay, and slowly increasing the grazing time daily. Grazing with sheep or young cattle first; or strip-grazing will also reduce the risk.

Chris Gasson, Synergy Farm Health, Dorset

This has been the driest summer for many years, and coupled with the late spring it has meant the grass never got growing, leading to a reduced silage yield.

All of this will leave many short of winter feed. Now is the time to be planning rations. Another consequence of the hot weather has been a huge number of flies, and we have been seeing many cases of New Forest Eye. Thankfully, prompt treatment has been effective.

With the days shortening and the autumn approach; housing should be cleaned, disinfected and inspected. Building repairs and modifications should also be made, whether it is fixing cubicles, replacing water troughs or improving ventilation.

Andrew Schofield, The Minster Vet Practice, York

andrew-schofield-xlvetsThroughout summer we have continued to see a high number of dairy cows with displaced abomasums. This produces the classic symptoms of “milk drop”, weight loss and a refusal to eat concentrates, normally occurring in the first 6-8 days post calving.

This high incidence of displacements, both left and right, appears to be mirrored in many other practices, with right displacements becoming more common.

The precise cause of this is unknown, certainly how cows are fed in the last few weeks of the dry period and the first few weeks post calving is critical. As are condition score changes, fat dry cows are a particular risk for going on to develop DA’s.

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