December 2018

As most of you may be aware of the news from the area this month is the confirmation of TB on one farm near Ulverston.  The disease was confirmed in one animal at slaughter, and radial testing has been put in place.  All farms with the land that is used for cattle within 3 km of the case are having to test now, with further tests to be done in 6 months and again after a further 12 months. Thankfully we have found no problems on any of the farms where we have done the first radial test

Pre-movement testing will also be required, so any animals leaving the holding will need to be tested within 60 days of the movement.  This does not apply to cattle going direct to slaughter, or to calves under 6 weeks old. With over 100 farms affected, this has given us a lot of extra work. It will need some forward planning for those of you affected when it comes to sale time.  Please contact us at least 2 weeks before you want to move cattle off so we can be sure that we can get your animals tested for you.  Remember the test is valid for 60 days so there is no need to leave it until the day before you want to sell to do it!!


Health Plans continue to keep us occupied, with most now requiring an antibiotic report to remain compliant.  We are able to print off a list of all antibiotics used on your farm in the last 12 months, and then complete a ‘Health, Performance & Antibiotic Usage Review’, which enables us to give you advice on how to reduce your overall usage of antibiotics.

Prophylactic treatment (using antibiotics to prevent disease happening such as giving Spectam Scourhalt to all newborn lambs to stop watery mouth or long-acting oxytetracycline at housing to stop calves getting pneumonia) is discouraged as it is overused and will encourage resistance developing.

The use of critically important antibiotics (which includes Excenel, Naxcel, Marbocyl and Baytril) has to be justified by laboratory testing to prove that no other drugs will work.  This means that we are no longer able to justify prescribing them just because they have a short or zero milk withdrawal.

The other major area for consideration is the use of antibiotic footbaths for the treatment of digital dermatitis in cattle or CODD in sheep. Current evidence suggests that these are not an effective way to treat or control the disease and will use a large amount of antibiotic per head of animal treated. If you use antibiotic footbaths in your dairy herd then the milk should not be put in the tank for 7 days as it is an ‘off licence’ use of antibiotics.

Treatment is best done on an individual basis, identifying all affected cattle by washing and inspecting all cows feet and then treating topically with oxytetracycline spray daily for at least 3 days.  This is best done in the crush with the foot lifted as you get a better success rate than when the cow is standing, and Red Tractor Assurance does not allow the use of antibiotic sprays during milking.

Red Tractor Assurance


Tetra Delta tubes are back in stock for those of you who use them for the treatment of mastitis.

There has been a problem with Tylan injection as the latest batch to be produced has failed quality control.  We have sourced an alternative  – TYLUCYL, which has the same dose rate and also the same milk withdrawal of 108 hours.  Hopefully, enough of this will be available until Tylan is back on the market.