The spring workload is keeping us busy as ever, with the usual number of lambings and calvings. Let’s hope the warm spring weather continues to keep everyone happy. There has not been as much TB testing as in recent years, and thankfully we have not found any problems. This includes the herds we have tested following the breakdown in the Grizedale area, as well as the small number of herds we have had to test after a problem in the Cartmel area this winter. We will be testing these herds around Cartmel again in the autumn this year and in autumn 2018.
Antibiotic use continues to be an issue in both human and veterinary medicine, with concern over the risk of bacteria developing resistance to those most commonly used, as well as those classified as ‘critically important’. The latest changes have been announced by Sainsbury’s, the supermarket which has a contract with some dairy farmers. These farmers are no longer allowed to use the critically important antibiotics which are fluoroquinolones and 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins. This includes drugs such as ‘Cobactan’, ‘Excenel’, ‘Naxcel’, ‘Marbocyl’ and ‘Baytril’ to name a few. There is the possibility other supermarkets will follow suit so we must all try to use these as little as possible.
Dry cow therapy is one of the areas being targeted for reducing antibiotic usage, with increasing efforts being made to increase the use of sealants. These can reduce cases of clinical mastitis in the next lactation by 25-30%, as well as reducing the risk of toxic mastitis around calving. As well as not using antibiotic dry cow tubes, the reduction in numbers of cows with mastitis will also reduce your overall antibiotic use on the farm. If you want to discuss the use of sealants then give us a call—the most important thing is to select the right cows and to make sure that the tube is inserted correctly, making sure no infection is introduced at the same time.
A reminder to all of you that all drugs must be authorized by a vet before they can be dispensed so please telephone the office to place your order so it can be approved. If you call in to collect something and no vet is available then you may not be able to get it. We also need to have the animals ‘under our care’ which means we should have been on the farm recently. If we have not then you will probably need a visit before we can prescribe any drugs. Please call the office to discuss if this affects you, and we can arrange to get it sorted. With increasing auditing by both Farm Assurance and Veterinary Medicines Directorate we need to ensure that all of us are fulfilling our obligations properly.
Orojet is still currently unavailable and doesn’t look like being back before most of you have finished lambing. If you have used an alternative, or nothing, this year it would be worth reviewing your protocol to see if it has worked or what you need to do next year. Have you recorded the number of lambs you have lost and why? Is your flock achieving its potential? We are prepared to set up a flock health club for those of you are interested, with the aim being to discuss problems as part of a small group and try and find solutions. We could also see if we could anonymously compare data between flocks, which would be most useful if we were comparing like with like flocks. The other question is how much is it worth to your enterprise if we were to arrange quarterly meetings. If you would like to express an interest then give us a call.
If you have had abortion problems or a lot of weakly lambs then blood samples will let you know if the problem is enzootic or toxoplasma—the lab work will be paid by the drug company, you just pay us for taking the blood samples.
Huskvac orders can still be taken to vaccinate your replacement heifers before turnout to reduce the effects of lungworm.