News From FarmVets SouthWest

April 2012 Newsletter

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April 2012 Newsletter from FarmVets SouthWest


Blackleg Vaccine 

Don’t forget to vaccinate susceptible stock for Blackleg before turnout.  The vaccine is very cheap and Blackleg is deadly!  Contact the office or Mike Price for details. 

Ubro Red Dry Cow Tubes 

Unfortunately there is a manufacturer’s problem and Ubro Red will not be available until the Autumn.  Although this is beyond our control we apologise for any inconvenience caused.  Please speak to a vet about an alternative.


Unfortunately a newborn deformed lamb sent to VLA Langford during the month has come back positive for this virus.  Our present understanding of this disease is that infection in this case will have occurred in late November early December of last year. 

We have no blood test available at present so diagnosis has to be done on either an aborted foetus or newborn calf/lamb showing clinical signs.   If your newborn lambs/calves are displaying symptoms please contact us as soon as possible.  The VLA are not, at present, charging for the first case from any unit.  We have included calves in the above but with the time span it is likely that we won’t start seeing problems with them until May/June. 

Once a cow has been infected she is likely to have good immunity for 18 months but this is only from work carried out on other viruses within the same family group.   Currently there is no vaccine and it is unlikely that there will be one available for at least another year.   None of the fly control products in this country have a licence for midges/mosquitoes but work carried out inEuropeon Blue Tongue has shown some benefit from Butox Swish used monthly.  As always – please don’t hesitate to talk to us. 

Funding for Sheep Farmers 

There is 70% funding available from the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative for consultation and laboratory work relating to parasite control on sheep farms.  If you are interested in taking part in the programme you must contact the Bridgwater office on 01278 663399 and register your interest.  We will be holding one meeting in May which you must attend if you wish to proceed.   This meeting will not be repeated!  If you have any queries please contact us. 

Cow Tracks 

Now is the time to plan for the grazing season.  What condition are your tracks in?  Poor tracks lead to sole ulcers and white lesions.  Waster logged muddy areas can act like a huge mastitis soup of bugs.  As the cow sits at pasture the bugs on her feet and legs are brought close to the udder leading to a risk of spread of environmental mastitis. 

Initial Design Points 

  • The track should be dry and out of the shade.
  • There has to be a camber
  • Track should be wider as you get towards the farm
    It should be 5m wide for a 200 cow herd, increasing by 1 metre for every additional 100 cows.
  • It should be fenced to allow drainage at the edges
  • Entry should be from alternating points along the track to avoid poaching at entry points
  • They should be compacted down, ideally with a heavy vibrating roller
  • Be aware of small stones from the track being brought onto the concrete yard.  This greatly increases the risk of sole bruising/ulcers and white line lesions. 


  • Cows should walk with their head down
  • Look out for cows using the verges instead of the main middle section
  • Cows should walk at 3mph; look out for slower areas that bottle neck
  • Look out for areas of excessive dunging
  • Use weed killers along the edges to promote drainage