News From FarmVets SouthWest

July Newsletter

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Farm Vets South West Newsletter July 2010 

Royal Bath and West Show

Congratulations to Brian and Randolph Miller for winning the "Supreme Champion Dairy Animal" class (amongst many others) and to Jake Sayer for winning one of the dairy heifer classes with "Denmans Biscuit" and also for his second place in the "Dairy Showman 11-16 Years" category. A mention is also due to Matt House for winning the "Dairy Showman 17-21 Years" category. 


Unfortunately, due to some hoists going missing we will now charge £1 per day for hire of our cow hoists. 

Fly Treatment

Now is the time to treat for flies. We have two products available, Dysect pour-on and Butox Swish. Contact the office or Mike Price prices/deals. 


Be on the lookout for cases of husk during July and August. The product of choice is Levamisole, e.g. Levacur, Levacide, since it paralyses the worms allowing them to be coughed up, so reducing the chance of secondary pneumonia after treatment.

In days gone by, one way of diagnosing lungworm was to treat a suspect animal with levamisole. If the coughing got worse after 20 minutes then the diagnosis was confirmed and the whole group was treated.

 Clinical Notes

A Farm Vets South West client had a new milking parlour put in three years ago but has had a rising cell count problem ever since. This became a payment issue in May and our in-house lab showed up e.coli and a few other skin contaminant bacteria. This was reported back to the client as a possible pulsation/plant problem.

The parlour had always tested OK but the comment was that there was a lot of liner slip. The recommendation was to re-test the parlour. This was done and it was only when the back shells of the clusters were tested was it found that the bleed holes were not correctly drilled. Within weeks of correctly manufactured shells going on the cell count had halved and some very high cell count cows had their death sentences lifted.

The moral of this story is that cell count and mastitis problems have to be investigated thoroughly and also that things need to be checked over and over and over again. In any case, if a new parlour is about to be fitted get the herd teat ends scored so that you can compare the performance of the new parlour.

Not a lot of people know that.......

Cows that have mastitis diagnosed in early lactation, on average, had depressed feed intake for 5 days before clots were found in the milk.

In our experience, rectal temperatures can spike 48 to 72 hours before clinical signs of early lactation mastitis occur. Is this cause or effect we wonder?

Extra Colostrum

Some Farm Vets South West clients have started using a single 3.5 to 4 litre feed to deliver colostrum as soon as possible after birth instead of the old 2 x 2l litres in the first 6 to 12 hours. The reported results have been very positive with a marked decrease in neonatal scour. However, hygiene is still critical no matter how good your colostrum management.

Beef Suckler Fertility

A lot of emphasis is placed on pre-calving management of dairy cows, quite rightly so, but it is also vitally important to get beef suckler cows and heifers at the right body condition score before calving. It has been shown in both heifers and cows that a low body condition score will lead to poorer fertility after calving even when they start to put on weight again. Heifers with a body condition score of 2 at calving had a 25% reduction in pregnancy rate compared to cows with a BCS of 3.5 at calving. Therefore, piling feed into them post-calving is an expensive and ineffective tool compared to getting them to the right condition score before calving.

 July 2010 Parasite Forecast

 Populations of larvae tend to reach their peak in July or August due to developing eggs being passed from calves and lambs themselves infected from dams or from overwintered larvae. Extended dry spells this year may delay this peak. It is likely that summer disease will have been reduced this year but, and it is a big but, significant outbreaks may occur 10 days or so after wet weather and we are due some rain at the start of July.

A dry May delayed hatching of nematodirus this year and the risk period could well extend into July. If lambs are being moved to safe pasture e.g. aftermath then some should be allowed to carry over some anthelmintic susceptible worms over to the new pasture to avoid resistance. At least once a year collect some fresh dung 10-14 days after worming and submit the sample for resistance testing.

We have to wait for July and August to pass to know the likely build up of fluke in snails over winter but snail habitats have shrunk due to the dry weather this year. This, combined with drier weather in September and October last year, means that the risk of acute disease in July will be lower but not absent.


Enzovac is not available until the end of July or the start of August and Toxovac is in short supply. Please contact us if you require either, there is no vaccine alternative to Toxovac. The same company that makes both these products has also told us that there will be supply problems with Metricure. Please speak to any of the vets at Farm Vets about an alternative.