June 2017

With lambing and calving almost complete for another spring and stock turned out we have just about finished TB testing. There has been one animal taken from the Seascale area which has given us a number of extra herds to test, but thankfully we have not found any problems in these herds. Unfortunately, TB seems to be appearing sporadically in different areas at present which can impact on a large number of farms as all cattle kept within a 3 km area from the problem will have to be tested.  Purchasing animals can be one source of infection and it is worth looking at the complete movement history as well as TB history of the farm of origin before you buy to try and reduce the risk.  Animals that have originally come from the high-risk area in England are obviously a higher risk to your herd.


BVD virus present in a herd of cattle can cause a range of health problems: abortion, early embryonic death, reduced fertility, scour, pneumonia, death.  ‘BVD Free England’ is a national initiative to try to rid the country’s cattle herds of this horrible virus and help us catch up with Scotland, Ireland and some other EC countries with a better health status than us. The first step is to establish your herd’s BVD status using a range of tests.

  1. Dairy herds can use bulk milk testing.
  2. Blood sampling of unvaccinated 9-18 month old stirks
  3. Tag and test all newborn calves

The crux of control is to identify any persistently infected (PI) animals in the herd and cull these as soon as they are found. Ongoing monitoring needs to continue for at least 2 years.  There is plenty of information on the BVD Free website ( ) and any of you who are ready to start on this programme can just give us a call so we can guide you along the way best suited to your individual herd.

Grazing lambs will need worming depending on grazing history, stocking density and weather conditions.  Targeting treatment to lambs only when needed will help reduce overheads as well as the risk of worms developing resistance.  One option is to weigh lambs on a regular basis and only worm those that are not performing as expected.  Those in good condition and performing well can be left untreated, this may be as many as 40% of lambs in some cases.  If you don’t weigh lambs regularly then doing a worm egg count from a pooled dung sample will let you know if worming is necessary.

If you want to make sure your wormer is working then repeating the egg count 7-14 days after dosing will let us know how effective the treatment has been or if the worms on your farm are resistant to the drug used.

Nationally there has been an increase in cases of hydatid disease found in sheep. This is caused by a tapeworm with dogs involved in the life cycle.  A dog will become infected by scavenging sheep carcases with the cyst, and cases had started to fall after the introduction of the burial ban.  It is vital that all dogs are wormed with a drug that contains praziquatel as an active ingredient to kill the tapeworm in the dog and so break the life cycle.  Hydatid disease can also affect people so reducing levels of infection is essential.

A reminder to everyone to please ring the office to pre-order any drugs you require so that we can have them labelled and ready for collection