Summer weather has certainly arrived early this year—with water levels getting really low on some farms we can only hope for some more rain soon to encourage grass growth. COVID 19 restrictions continue to make us think how we are working, but we are slowly trying to get back to some level of normality which may be different from before. We are still asking that you telephone the office to order drugs before you come and collect them so we can have them ready for you. We are still reducing the amount of contact between staff members, with only 2-3 vets in the office in a morning so if you are looking for a particular vet then we can get them to ring you back.
Some of you may have seen in the farming press that DEFRA has advised that when TB testing we should remember the 2-metre advice and have accepted that in some herds it will be difficult to test cattle under 6 months whilst maintaining social distancing. They have given an exemption to test these calves in herds undergoing routine testing ( including radial testing) , but not in herds currently under restriction and having to test every 60 days. It only applies to cattle under 180 days old on the day we start the test, and if we do any calves in this group they expect all of them to be tested.
On a practice note, we have a new vet who started work this week. Gary Stevenson graduated from Glasgow in 2018 and has worked in mixed practice in the UK before spending some time working in New Zealand. He is interested in farm work and keen to get started again
There are still problems in getting a number of drugs, with mastitis tubes still being in short supply. Tetra delta tubes have not returned yet, but we can still get Ubropen, Ubrolexin and Orbenin LA.
There have been changes to some dry cow tubes with the most significant being Ubro red tubes are now Ubrostar Red. Ubro Red tubes were licensed for use in cows with a 28-day dry period. These are now licensed for use in cows at least 35 days before calving and have a milk withdrawal of 36 hours after calving. If the cow calves within 35 days of drying off then the milk need to be kept out of the tank for at least 37 days after treatment.
If your cow will not be dry for 35 days then we have Orbenin Dry Cow tubes which are licensed for a dry period of 30 days. The milk withdrawal after calving is 204 hours or 9 days.
The other option is, of course using sealants—these are not antibiotics and Red Tractor Farm Assurance standards are encouraging the use of selective dry cow therapy, so helping to reduce the total amount of antibiotic used in your herd. Sealants can be used in any length of the dry period and there is no milk withdrawal period. Careful selection of which cows to use sealants in is essential, but more important is how you use them. If you are wanting to discuss how to use sealants and in which cows then give us a ring to get some advice.
Mastitis or black bag in sheep seems to be causing problems on several farms, with a number of sheep dying. There doesn’t seem to be any common factor between farms, with some reporting cases in ewes suckling twins and some triplets. Evidence would suggest that if ewes are short in milk then that will cause damage to the teat by over-vigorous sucking by their lambs so increasing the risk of black bag. The farmers with affected ewes say there is a good supply of grass so don’t think there will be a lack of milk. Risk factors include orf on the ewe’s teats, with other suggestions being cold wind and wet weather but that isn’t the case this year! The general advice to reduce cases is to ensure ewes are in good body condition at lambing, with correct nutrition to ensure a plentiful milk supply, and then introducing creep feed to reduce the lambs’ demand for milk.
Huskvac orders for protecting replacement cattle against lungworm can still be taken
We are also now taking orders for Enzovax and Toxovax to protect replacement ewes against abortion. There is also the option to blood test ewes that have aborted this year to check if it is due to either of these diseases with the lab charges being paid for by MSD. These tests are available until the end of June.