October 2017

As we approach autumn we can only hope that the weather improves and everyone can get a chance to finish silage making and harvest. On a practice note after 17 years Emma Hatton has chosen to move on.  Our 2 new vets Conor and George are finding their way around the practice and enjoying the challenges of the varied workload.

We will soon be TB testing some of the herds of cattle within 3 km from the outbreaks at Drigg and at Cartmel, hoping that they will go clear again.  There will also be the usual routine testing of some of your herds during the winter months.  As a reminder to you all, you will have a 2-3 month window in which to get the test done, and we need to test all cattle over 6 weeks intended for or used for breeding.   Please don’t leave it until the last minute to contact us to arrange your test.

As a reminder as we approach winter and the extra workload can you please try and ring us before 9.30 am with any calls you want so we can organise our workload efficiently in terms of time and fuel.  In the last couple of months, we have had an increasing number of calls in the afternoon to animals that have been ill or treated for a number of days necessitating a vet travelling to the same area that they left earlier in the day. We will be making an extra call out fee for these calls due to the inconvenience.  This will not apply to emergency calls such as calvings or staggers.


LIVER FLUKE has the potential to be a problem this autumn following the wet summer months.   Treatment may be required to prevent sheep dying due to acute disease, where large numbers of immature fluke migrate through the liver causing extensive damage to the liver resulting in sudden death.  The only drug that will kill immature fluke is triclabendazole, but we are finding increasing evidence of it not working properly due to resistance developing. On these farms other products will need to be used, (please contact us to discuss the most appropriate choices) but you should also consider grazing and management strategies to reduce the risk of the sheep picking up an infection.  This may mean not using some of your fields in the high-risk period. Remember any purchased animals are a potential risk to bringing resistant fluke onto your farm and should be dosed on arrival and yarded to prevent them depositing eggs on your pastures.  This is also recommended for worm control.  Ideally, these purchased animals should be kept separate from your own animals for 3 weeks. As well as treating for fluke and worms on arrival, don’t forget scab control, and you should also be checking feet so you don’t introduce footrot, or more importantly CODD (contagious ovine digital dermatitis).


PNEUMONIA in cattle is one of the major problems we encounter during the autumn, and as you will all know is multifactorial with housing, ventilation, stress and infection all having a part to play—prompt treatment is important in improving outcomes.  Don’t forget lungworm as part of that infectious process and ensure your cattle are treated to reduce any impact this may have on the disease process.   In an ideal world, treatment should be done before housing reducing any impact the dying larva will have on the lungs.  There are a large number of vaccines available to help control disease which will help offer protection against a number of different viruses and bacteria.  Some can be administered up the nose and so immunity will develop much faster than those given by injection.  As with all vaccines, it is better to know which organisms are causing the problem before you start to use them.  Subsidised testing is available from Zoetis, one of the drug companies, which may be useful to help you decide which vaccine to use another time, but may be too late for this year.  If you want to discuss it further then give us a call at the office.

Sheep abortion vaccines are still available in either 20 dose or 50 dose bottles. Enzovax should be available from our wholesalers the next day but Toxovax must be ordered in advance.  The supply issues earlier in the season seem to be resolved but we generally need 1-2 weeks to get it for you, and it needs to be used within 7-10 days.