News From FarmVets SouthWest

Farm Vets South West March 2011 Newsletter

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FarmVets SouthWest Newsletter March 2011

TB Testing

Spring is a busy time for everybody and that includes us vets.  A big part of our spring work is TB testing, it takes a lot of organising and so we would be very appreciative if we could please have a month notice to book your whole herd test in and two weeks notice for tracer and pre-movement tests.

We understand that this may not always be possible and we will always get the tests done but we try to get all work done in a timely manner so that we are not late for your test or the one after.   Thank you for your help on this.


Last year we found a lot of cases of blackleg in cattle.  Blackleg animals are usually found dead but in some cases animals are found severely lame with swollen limbs.  Interestingly, we also diagnosed a case of “coronary blackleg” where the heart was affected but the outcome was the same - a dead animal.  This disease is sporadic but can affect a high number of animals.

There is no effective treatment for this disease but vaccination is very cheap and very effective and there is still time to do this before turnout. 

South West Healthy Livestock Initiative 

We have quite a few clients interested in various parts of this but we cannot start until instruction days have been organised by the Duchy College who administer the scheme. 

We can start on the respiratory disease part and will soon be able to offer the lameness and BVD/Johnes strands.  Please contact the office if you are interested in any aspect of the initiative. 

Hot water whinge

Once upon a time your much respected vet would roll up in his tweed jacket, get offered a cup of tea and have a full bucket of hot water ready for him. Then he would take a long time looking at one cow  and treating it with some bad-smelling coloured drench, and spend the next half- hour putting the world to rights with you before being offered a meal, some cider, and/or a whisky. He would also have the decency to delay sending you a bill for six months, and not expect payment for another six months. There were plenty of slightly intoxicated vets driving about, but it did not seem to matter much because there was very little traffic, and in any case he knew all the local police, who did not consider it part of their duties to cause trouble for a professional man going about his business!

It’s probably no bad thing that some of those traditions have changed, but this piece is a small plea for continuation of the hot water!  Lack of it leads to less effective killing of bugs, and a slightly grumpy vet.  The vet can lump it of course, he’s paid enough to cope with a bit of discomfort, but the point about hygiene is not insignificant, hot water will kill more bacteria which will improve outcomes slightly in all sorts of cases, not just the obvious surgical procedures. So next time you call us out, please remember to flick that timer override switch on the hot water as you go past!



There have been a cluster of cases of salmonella on clients farms this year.  Typical signs include obvious illness, scouring and abortions (especially sheep).  The particular strain identified in cattle is often          salmonella dublin which is a cattle associated strain but recently we have seen a group known as “gamma” salmonella, an extremely common finding in badgers.  This is another reason to heed DEFRA biosecurity guidelines on preventing contact between livestock and badgers.

 FarmVets SouthWest  are pleased to offer: 

Lameness Reduction Visits

We are all too aware of the impact of lame cows can have on our dairy units and on your bottom line. Recently welfare and lameness in-particular have never been more in the public eye. With this in mind FarmVets are offering a lameness package to include; 

*Mobility scoring (and training in this skill)

*Lesion detection

*Lameness record analysis

*Foot trimming tips and protocols

*Foot bathing tips and protocols

 Using this information and having undertaken a full farm risk assessment we will create a full Lameness Reduction Plan and/or present findings to all relevant staff. 

These visits, which were very successful and well received at Eoghan’s previous practice, help to create a full picture of the causes of lameness on the farm.  Armed with this information control measures can be targeted for best effect.  Each         foot-bath that you make up can cost up to £22 which equates to £2,300 per year if you foot bath twice a week but this control measure is not always used to best effect and it won’t cure such things as solar ulcers.

 Please contact the practice for details of the visits and of the discounted rates available for a limited time.