I hope you are all enjoying the warm spring weather after the trials of one of the wettest winters on record. With silage being made in earnest we hope there will be enough good quality forage to see everyone through next winter. With most cattle now turned out, we are finding our workload is easing off so if you need a health plan sorted for farm assurance purposes then please give us a ring. As well as helping you satisfy assurance requirements you can use this opportunity to discuss your use of worm and fluke treatments. With margins getting squeezed more and more then you want to make sure you are using the right product at the correct time to help reduce overheads.
As well as looking at wormers, you should consider how much and what type of antibiotic you are routinely using. Antibiotic resistance is becoming an ever increasing problem, with concern being expressed that the use of antibiotics in farm animals is leading to bacterial resistance developing in the human population. To that end the use of antibiotics in some countries is being restricted with farmers in Holland only being allowed to use 5 different drugs—pen + strep, oxytetracycline (Alamycin or Engemycin), tmps (Bimotrim, Tribrissen or Norodine) and florfenicol (Nuflor).
Before any other antibiotic can be used then samples need to be taken and sent to the lab for testing to tell which antibiotic will work in this disease outbreak. This will often mean that if a cow has E. coli mastitis she will die before the results are back, but then if there is another case in the next few weeks there will be results available to enable her to be treated. This also applies to an outbreak of bacterial pneumonia in calves. The use of the more modern antibiotics like Marbocyl,
Before any other antibiotic can be used then samples need to be taken and sent to the lab for testing to tell which antibiotic will work in this disease outbreak. This will often mean that if a cow has E. coli mastitis she will die before the results are back, but then if there is another case in the next few weeks there will be results available to enable her to be treated. This also applies to an outbreak of bacterial pneumonia in calves. The use of the more modern antibiotics like Marbocyl, Excenel and Naxcel is totally restricted.
These changes in Holland have resulted in a 30% reduction in the use of antibiotics in farm animals, with the aim being to reduce this further over the next few years. Changes to housing and husbandry implemented by farmers during this period have allowed the reduction in antibiotic usage without there being a detrimental effect on animal welfare or production.
Lame cows are one of the groups of animals where there is an overuse of antibiotics, simply because they are often left too long before treatment. All research suggests that as soon as a cow is walking lame then she should have her foot lifted, examined and treated correctly. With at least 90% of lame cows having a problem in the claw then it is essential to check this area before anything else. This early intervention (in the first 1-2 days of lameness) is the single most important factor in getting a successful outcome. Giving her a shot of antibiotic and seeing how she goes is much more likely to result in further damage being done, a longer recovery period with a decrease in performance and an increased chance of her being culled.
Whilst many of you may not long have finished lambing, some of you may be starting to think about getting ready for next year. Abortion vaccination is one area which needs to be done at least 1 month before the tups go in. We have been advised that there has been a problem with 50 doses of Enzovax, with the batches that have been produced failing the subsequent testing. This means that there will be no 50 dose Enzovax available this year, although we have been assured that there will be enough 10 and 20 dose to meet demand. We would, however, recommend that you place your orders for Enzovax as soon as possible so we can get it for you.
As another reminder, if you had a lot of barren sheep or abortion problems this spring then there is once again an opportunity to have 6-8 ewes blood tested to see if they have been exposed to either enzootic or toxoplasma. With the drug company paying for the laboratory work, you will only be responsible for the cost of taking the blood.