News From FarmVets SouthWest

Farm Vets South West February 2011 Newletter

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 Farmvets SouthWest Newsletter February 2011

It’s Twins!

We would like to congratulate Kath Long and her partner, Mike, on the birth of their two baby boys.  Mother and children are doing well and we wish them all the best. 

Respiratory Disease Meetings

Thank you to all those who attended the recent respiratory disease meetings.  Pneumonia control is always a challenge and we hope the meetings helped to give a clearer picture of this complex disease.  Many thanks are due to Merial who sponsored the meeting and gave a talk on their new pneumonia antibiotic “Zactran”.

Please contact the surgery or speak to your regular vet if you would like further advice and guidance about pneumonia control and vaccination strategy.

Cattle Abortions


DEFRA now wish to test all suckler cows that abort for Brucellosis.  If one of your cows aborts then please contact DEFRA and then we can attend and take a blood sample.  It is worthwhile testing for other causes of abortion at the same time and getting a proper diagnosis.

New Faces

We are delighted to welcome Eoghan (pronounced “Owen”) to FarmVets SouthWest. Eoghan is an experienced farm animal vet who comes to us from Derbyshire. Northern Irish by birth, he carries on a FVSW tradition of good Irish vets.

We would also like to welcome Deborah Manley and Kate Edgecock to the office staff at Bridgwater.  You may also see Deborah and Kate at our other branches too. 

Courses at FarmVets SouthWest


From February 15th to the 18th we are running an AI course at Rodway Farm Cannington.  Please contact us if you would like to book a place.  Part funding is available at the moment so the cost of the course is £200 + VAT for the four days.

Our foot-trimming courses are now partly funded through the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative and as soon as this is up and running we will hold another two day foot trimming course.  We will keep you posted when the next course will be.  

Bull Fertility 

Since we started performing Bull Breeding Soundness Exams in 2009 we have tested around 40 bulls and found near 50% of them sub-fertile or infertile.  Generally, a fair percentage of the bulls we test are already suspected of “firing blanks” but by this time the calving pattern will usually have slipped by 6 weeks.  It is far better to have your bull tested before introducing him to the cows.  Whilst fertility testing him we can also give him a thorough physical exam and pick any problems up early.

We also do pre-sale testing and the bull can travel with a BCVA (British Cattle Veterinary Association) Breeding Soundness Certificate.  This provides some security and confidence for buyer and seller. 

Vaccine Offers 

We have an early season offer on the “Leptavoid-H” leptospirosis vaccine at the moment.  Please contact the surgery for a very good deal on this and our BVD vaccine.

Dairy Boost Syringe 

FVSW have launched a unique new product that can be used to help treat fatty liver in cows and also to support recovery from other diseases around calving.  The product is called “Dairy Boost” (yes, the name ain’t great but the product can speak for itself) and comes in a 300ml syringe and is given orally by using a “mastic-tube” type pump.   The product is designed for daily use for 3-5 days. 

Instances where “Dairy Boost” may be useful include: 

  • Cows that have had twins and are slow to get going
  • Fat cows at calving
  • Long dry periods (>9 weeks)
  • Cows that are ill in the run up to calving
  • Cow with poor feed intake or disease post-calving (esp. down cows, milk fever, retained cleansing, mastitis)

Fatty liver is the condition in which there is a toxic up of fat in the liver.  In the normal cow some fat will accumulate in the liver around calving but it is held below certain levels by the cow’s own internal checks and balances.  Cows that are fat or ill at calving are more likely to mobilise more fat and the checks and balances can fail and the cow just releases more and more fat off her back into the liver. Stress is also an important trigger for this.

The problem with current treatments is that they work by increasing blood sugar and elevated blood sugar will stop the cow mobilising more fat off her back. The problem is that this sometimes doesn’t work because the whole system goes haywire.  We decided that current fatty liver treatments were inadequate and so we decided to get our own made with ingredients that are proven to aid safe and efficient fat metabolism in cattle.

Niacin:                   A B vitamin which decreases fatty acids in the blood decreasing the amount of fat which hits the liver.

Carnitine:              Diverts fat from the liver into cells that will burn it efficiently, this increases energy levels and lowers liver fat levels.

Choline:                 Essential for exporting fat back out of the liver.  It is usually in low levels in cows with fatty liver.

Other B vitamins are also included which aid blood sugar production and support general liver function.  In addition, sugar syrup supplies a ready-made sugar boost, propylene glycol increases energy levels and the production of insulin.