September weather has been good with both stock and farmer alike enjoying some late summer sunshine. An update on the TB situation is good news. The 2 animals that were slaughtered in July following positive skin reactions had no visible lesions at slaughter and were culture negative. The 2 farms concerned have both passed the subsequent skin test, so restrictions have now been lifted. There are, however, another few animals that have tested inconclusive at a routine test and are now awaiting retest. We are also just starting to do the final round of testing following the breakdown in Bootle. Hopefully, this will also be clear, and that will enable restrictions to be eased and the need for pre-movement testing to be lifted.
LUNGWORM has been a problem in the last few weeks, with adult dairy cows being affected on a number of farms. The main signs have been coughing after a short period of exercise so you may hear a number of cows coughing when they come in for milking. Other signs may include an increase in respiratory rate when at rest, and if severely affected will be reluctant to move and may stand with their neck extended and head down. Prompt treatment to kill the lungworm is necessary, but this can result in further damage to the lungs, increasing signs of disease. If you think your cows may be affected then please ring to discuss with us before you start treatment.
Prevention of lungworm is best achieved by vaccinating calves before they are turned out for the first time with 2 doses being required. Exposure to infection during the first grazing season stimulates the body to become immune which should last for the animal’s lifetime. If you are going to vaccinate your replacements next year you also need to consider your worming regime as boluses or long-acting worm treatment will reduce the calf’s ability to become immune as they will not be exposed to a high enough challenge.
As well as affecting adult cattle, lungworm can cause problems in youngstock, and these are best treated before housing. The aim is to kill the parasite whilst the calves are still outside to reduce the risk of lung damage, and the chances of pneumonia developing when they are housed.
Don’t forget that vaccination of calves against pneumonia is best done before housing so that they will develop immunity before the high-risk period. There are a number of vaccines available on the market which will offer protection against viruses and Pasteurella, the main causes of pneumonia, but there is none available for mycoplasma. Determining the cause of the problems in your cattle is essential before we can recommend a vaccination regime. This may mean collecting samples for analysis post-mortem, or blood samples from affected calves to see which viruses they have been exposed to.
Fertility testing tups can now be done especially for those tups that you think may not have got many lambs last year.
Sheep abortion vaccine is still available for those of you who need it. There was supply problems at the end of last month but these seem to be resolved, however, if you think you need some our advice is to order it as soon as possible.
Don’t forget purchased replacements are a source of infection to your own animals and should be quarantined on arrival and treated to prevent the introduction of resistant worms, fluke, and scab.