Newsletter December 2012

After 44 years Lynne Dixon has decided to retire at the end of December and take a well earned rest! She has seen the practice change and develop from the days of Hargreaves, Fox And Rushton, where the majority of work was with farm animals and everything was done manually, through the increasing load of small animal work and the introduction of computers. We want to thank her for her many years of service and wish her a long and happy retirement. From January Claire Cunningham will be opening up and dealing with calls and work in the mornings, with Heather Coward coming back to work for us and help manage the afternoons.

As mentioned in the previous newsletter we are planning to introduce a credit charge on accounts which have been outstanding for more than 60 days. Thank you to those of you who have already cleared the balance, but if you are still behind with payment then please make arrangements to pay by 31st December 2012. If you are really struggling then a long term commitment (by setting up a monthly direct debit) to bring the account under control may be the best option. Please contact us to discuss this further to see how we can facilitate everybody.


FLUKE. As advised last month liver fluke is proving to be a major problem, with lots of sheep dying from acute disease. In some cases the fluke are causing  damage to the liver and the sheep are then dying from pasteurella or clostridial disease. It is worth getting a post mortem on any dead sheep to assess the state of the liver and determine actual cause of death.  If you haven’t yet dosed your sheep this autumn to control fluke then it needs to be done now!  They will probably need dosing more regularly during the winter—we are happy to provide advice on an individual basis.

If you don’t think your fluker is working we can help you investigate—don’t forget that changing to a different product does not mean you will be using a different drug! We have also found suspicion of fluke being resistant to triclabendazole on some farms so please ask for advice before you treat.   It is imperative that animals are dosed correctly, according to bodyweight– you should weigh a number of them and dose for the heaviest.  Also remember to check that your dosing gun administers the quantity of medicine that you think it is to make sure you are not underdosing!

ROTAVEC. We have been advised by the manufacturers of Rotavec of a supply problem, so there will probably be no vaccine available for use in cows until March 2013, which will be too late for the majority of spring calving suckler herds. There are other products on the market, (Trivacton 6 and Lactovac)  but these are likely to be in short supply due to the unavailability of Rotavec.  Both other vaccines need to be given to the cow twice in late gestation, with the second dose 2-3 weeks before calving. The 2 most important things you can do to reduce the number of calves with scour are :-

  1. Hygiene– ensure calving pens are kept clean and dry, cleaning out after each calf and bedding with lots of straw. The cow should also be as clean as possible with no muck on her legs or udder to reduce the risk of the calf sucking on faeces and ingesting disease causing bacteria.
  2. Colostrum– each calf needs 6 pints of colostrum in the first 6 hours of life to protect it against disease and boost its immune system to work properly. It takes 20 minutes continual sucking by the calf to get enough colostrum. Helping the calf to suck for 20 minutes will take less time than having to subsequently treat it for scour.

BVD.  There is an opportunity to investigate for evidence of BVD in your dairy herd in a scheme organised by NFU in conjunction with the North West Livestock Programme. Funding is available to look for carrier animals, with a view to removing them from the herd and so reduce the impact this disease can have on your herd’s production and performance. This scheme is similar to that organised in Scotland to try and eradicate BVD virus from the national herd there. You are still able to access this part of the programme if you have already had a plan written for grant funding, or if not, you will get a whole review of your herd health from a farm adviser and a vet for £160 +VAT.  Also included in this is laboratory testing to the value of £250!



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