I am sure most of you will be suffering from information overload due to COVID-19, but we wanted to give you some information regarding our position. We are still providing 24-hour emergency cover as normal, but reducing the number of staff in the office as much as possible to keep the risk of spread of infection to a minimum. We are asking that you ring the surgery if you need any drugs before you come to collect—this is to allow us time to get them labelled and ready for collection. We will then be able to hand them to you without you needing to come into the office. It is essential that you ring before you come to make sure we have the drugs in stock as we are not getting a daily delivery and we don’t want you to have a wasted journey if we haven’t got them in stock.
As well as a reduction in the number of deliveries we are getting, there are also ongoing problems with the supply of a number of drugs. Tetra Delta tubes have still not returned, with the only mastitis tubes currently available being Ubrolexin, Ubropen and Orbenin LA. There is a shortage of Tetroxy LA but we have managed to source an equivalent which is slightly more expensive.
Currently, advice from DEFRA is that TB testing is to continue, but as with all farm visits and in line with government advice, we want to try and maintain a 2-metre space between yourself and us at all times. A 2-metre gap is equivalent to the length of 1 cow so if we stand at opposite ends of the crush then everyone should be safe. If your test is due then give us a call and we can arrange a date, however, if you want to postpone due to the current situation then please also let us know. We can then advise DEFRA who will allow an extension to your testing window which will stop penalties being applied. The 12-month radial testing around the Ulverston area is due for completion over the next few months so hopefully, that will be the last test for the majority of those farmers in the area and they will be able to sell stock without having to have them pre-movement tested.
With the arrival of the warmer weather, we need to watch for Nematodirus in lambs, with NADIS reporting there to be a moderate risk this year. Lambs will be scouring and will need to be treated as soon as possible, with a white drench wormer still being the most cost-effective. You need to be careful that the problem isn’t coccidiosis which will present with similar signs, but they will not get better after worming.
Have you had problems with abortion or a large number of dead lambs in your flock, if so have you considered that an infectious cause might be the problem? Blood testing 6-8 ewes that have given problems will tell you if there is any evidence of toxoplasma or enzootic abortion in your ewes. There is a vaccine available against both these diseases which will help reduce the number of losses you might suffer next year.
Are your cows due their annual vaccinations to protect against BVD and leptospira – we recommend that these are done before turnout. Replacement heifers can be vaccinated from 3 months of age for BVD and 5 months for leptospira so it is worth doing them now, especially if you intend to bull them later this year. Leptavoid H is back and available again, but only in 25 dose bottles – remember that heifers will need 2 doses 1 month apart. BVD vaccine BOVELA is available in different sizes ranging from 5-dose to 50-dose and cattle only need vaccinating once. This will cover against both strains of BVD that have been found in the UK cattle population.
Orders can still be taken for Huskvac to protect your replacement heifers against lungworm.