News From FarmVets SouthWest

Farm Vets South West January 2011 Newsletter

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Newsletter January 2011


 Lambing is upon us again and it’s worth taking a few minutes to check your supplies. A little time spent now, getting everything you might need in place, will save a lot of frustration later.


We can supply all of the following ‘over the counter’ so no need for a prescription or to travel far.




Propylene Glycol

Milk/colostrum replacements e.g. shepherdess


Wormers, flukers, ecto-parasiticides

Calcium Magnesium, Phosphorous

Lambing snares/wires, Prolapsed spoons


Heptavac P, Clostridia Vaccines, Footvax

Foot spray

Lamb rings

Foot trimmers

And of course ADVICE!


No sheep?

We can still help you with many ‘over the counter’ products ,e.g. wormers - saving you time and money




Mastitis Pathogens


It is commonly thought that cold weather reduces the growth of e.coli bacteria and this will result in reduced e.coli mastitis infections.  The results from our in-house lab have shown less e.coli infections but we have seen a lot more unusual e.coli-like  bacteria which are part of the “coliform” group of bacteria that includes e.coli. 


It is vitally important to keep up hygiene practices in the parlour and also to keep the parlour properly maintained which means both static and dynamic tests on top of frequent liner changes. 


Strep uberis is the most commonly isolated single bacteria at the moment.  Less time has been       available for routine jobs due to things like frozen parlours and water troughs and mastitis bugs are    nothing if not opportunists.
















Feed Stocks and Severe Winters


There have been a few cold winters in a row and this may be the trend for a good few years.


If average daily temperatures stay around freezing then cattle will eat around 7-8% extra over their normal intake.  However, if temps dip much lower intakes rise but the animals also become less efficient at  producing meat or milk.  At 10 degrees below freezing then feed intake goes up by 25%. 


In future years forage stocks may need to increase.  Let’s hope cold springs and dry summers are not part of the trend too!


Training Courses at FarmVets SouthWest


A two day foot trimming course will be held at Rodway Farm, Cannington.  The first day will be on Wednesday, January 26th and the second day will be on Wednesday, February 9th.  The course costs £120 + VAT which covers both days.  Each day starts at 10.30 and finishes 3-3.30.  During the course instruction will be given on theory and practical foot-trimming as well as identifying common causes of lameness, foot block application and bandaging.  Please contact your  branch to register an interest.


Another “Bring a Bag” TMR day will also be held at Rodway Farm on Tuesday,  January 25th.  Lunch is included in this course which will be from 11pm to 2 pm.  There is no charge for this course.  The day will cover all the factors that can result in poor performance from a correctly formulated ration from silage faces to feed faces and from ration loading to mixing.  As a practice we find that many nutritional problems not due to poor ration formulation but are due to other factors that are often discounted.         


“Sleeping with the Enemy”


Most of our working lives as vets in private practice we spend doing our best to improve the profitability of your businesses and maintaining your stock’s health, because that’s what we want to do and that’s what you pay us for.


But we also spend some time on duties more concerned with maintaining the health of the    national herd, i.e. TB testing and market inspections. This “bread and butter” work is worth doing for its own sake and also supports the practice and helps us to maintain a good service for you.

But it does involve taking the “King’s shilling” to work for the government, in other words, not working for you. Obviously this can sometimes lead to potential problems with conflicts of interest, (hence the title.) 


Our position as professionals with a code of conduct to adhere to and a desire to maintain the trust of all parties enables us to fulfil these roles with a clear conscience, but of course we  sometimes do have to make unpopular decisions.


This is in no way a plea for sympathy for us, but just a reminder that however much we want to make things better for you, the choice is not always ours, we need to stay within the law and protect our integrity with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and our other employer (DEFRA).  If we don’t keep these things in mind your respect for us would quite rightly be   reduced.


So next time we turn up a reactor on your test, or you see a notice signed by one of us saying that you should not have taken that scabby ewe to market, please remember that we don’t enjoy doing it, and it is not a personal attack, but another example of how the rules can trip you up, and your vet just happens to be the messenger. Please don’t shoot! Re-read the first sentence instead.

Thanks for reading.