Newsletter December 2013

Following the outbreak of TB in 2 herds in the practice we have almost finished testing all cattle within 3km of these farms and to date there has been no more confirmed cases We are however waiting for repeat tests on a number of animals that were  inconclusive at the herd test; these will be completed  by AHVLA over the next 2 months. Once these results are available it should give us a clearer picture as to the situation in the area, but the final decision as to future testing protocol will be determined by AHVLA, and probably made at a central office!

Please remember that if your farm has been involved with the radial testing then any animals you want to move off your holding (except those moving direct to slaughter) that are over 42 days old will need to have passed a TB test within the previous 60 days.

You are still able to move calves younger than 42 days without the need to have them tested. It is worth deciding when you intend to sell cattle as one test could be done to allow you to sell at several sales over a 6—8 week period.   Please try and arrange your test as soon as possible to ensure we can get it done and paperwork completed for you to take with you to the auction.


Antibiotic use is coming under increasing scrutiny, whether in human or veterinary medicine, due to concerns with bacteria becoming resistant.  Resistance can develop for a number of reasons:

  1. The animal has been given the incorrect dose for its weight.
  2. The drug has been given by the incorrect route (eg. intramuscular rather than subcutaneous injection) or for the wrong length of time.
  3. The wrong antibiotic has been used for the condition being treated.
  4. A drug has been chosen that is not licensed for use in that species or that class of animal.
  5. The drugs have not been stored correctly so they are less effective before you start to use them.

We have come across a few cases recently where new calved cows have been treated with antibiotics  because ‘they were not quite right’ and when we have been called to examine them found that they had a displaced stomach and required surgery to correct it.

These animals had been given antibiotics with no justification and this would be deemed to be overuse.  Both consumers and retailers are becoming more aware of the problem and we need to ensure that we all use drugs responsibly if we want to be able to continue to use them.  This is particularly important with the more modern classes of drug, and some of the supermarkets are already asking us to justify their use on our farms.

This entails taking samples and checking sensitivity tests at the lab to find out which drugs we can use for specific diseases, be it calf scour or cow mastitis.  With our activities coming under increasing scrutiny we need to justify the way we prescribe and dispense antibiotics. If you are not using them responsibly then we may be forced to restrict which drugs you have available for use on your farm.

The other area also being looked at is dry cow therapy—with the availability of a teat sealant on the market the question being asked is if all cows need to be given antibiotics at drying off.  Teat sealants can be used in cows with a low cell count as long as she has not had a case of mastitis during this lactation. Care needs to be taken when inserting these into the quarter to make sure everything is clean and sterile and you do not introduce infection with the tube.  If you are interested in using them then please give us a ring to discuss first.

Rotavec corona vaccine for cows to help control scour in calves is still in limited supply, although another batch is due to be released in the next couple of weeks.  Further batches will only be available if they pass the quality control tests.  Can you please advise us of your requirements as soon as possible so we can try and make sure everyone has enough for this spring.


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