News From FarmVets SouthWest

August 2012 Newsletter FarmVets SouthWest

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Newsletter August  2012




July and August are typically the peak months for lungworm with heavy summer downpours (you may have noticed them recently) breaking up faecal pats and dispersing the larvae across the pasture.

Calves are at risk if they have not either been vaccinated or given long acting wormers.  Older cattle may still get lungworm if they have not been exposed to natural infection or were given continuous long acting wormers at last grazing season. The first sign is coughing when moving but as the infection progresses frequent coughing may be evident at rest.  All common wormers will kill lungworm but be careful with using ivermectin type products, e.g. ivomec, enovex, dectomax and eprinex, since the dead worms can go down into the lung and start up a severe pneumonia.   The safest option is to use a levamisole treatment which paralyses the parasite so it can be coughed up with less chance of a secondary pneumonia.  In fact, the old way of diagnosing lungworm was to use levamisole; if the coughing got rapidly worse then the worms were being coughed up and the diagnosis was confirmed.


Summer Infection of Snails:  A wet June is a good indication of the level of summer infection of snails which will result in increased fluke problems in stock the following year.  We will keep you updated with the 2012/13 fluke risk reports as they are produced. 

Winter Infection of Snails: Relatively large numbers of snails may have overwintered with the mild winter and the heavy rainfall in June would have allowed infection to be released from the snails.  A flukicide needs to be used around the end of July/early August to reduce the shedding of eggs which will infect snails in the autumn/winter. 


Due to the miserable weather in June and July Honiton Show will now be held on Thursday, 30th August.  Come and join us for a cup of tea or a cold drink at Stand 129, Avenue B 


If you had high barren rates and/or abortion problems during 2012 or previous lambing seasons and have had Toxoplasmosis detected in your flock, now is the time to vaccinate your ewes to protect them against future lamb losses.   According to MSD Animal Health Flockcheck, results for 2010-2011 show that on average 86% of the blood samples submitted tested positive for Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis can cause abortions, high barren rate, resorptions, mummified foetuses, still births and weakly lambs.   Heavy infections can cause infertility in high numbers of ewes and reduce the number of lambs born by around 6%.  

Sheep pick up the Toxoplasmosis from the environment.  Toxoplasmosis is most commonly caused by contaminated cat faeces; even a brief visit by a cat onto your farm can significantly contaminate barns and pasture.   A single cat dropping holds enough eggs to infect more than 100 ewes. 

Vaccination is the only way to avoid the disease in future years.  

Toxovax will protect the ewe for at least two lambing seasons.  Toxovax can be given up to three weeks before tupping to protect the ewe this lambing season. 

In previous years there have been issues with the supply of Toxovac and we suggest

planning ahead to ensure you have sufficient quantities to vaccinate your flock. 

Please contact us today to organise your Toxovax requirements for 2012. 


Pete joined FVSW at the beginning of August.  Pete graduated from Cambridge Vet School in 2011 and went on to complete a 12 month internship in farm animal medicine.  Pete is interested in all aspects of production animal medicine with a particular focus on youngstock health and disease management.

Outside of work Pete is a keen musician, squash player and cyclist. Originally fromEast Anglia, Pete is looking forward to hiking in the Quantocks and enjoying some local Somerset cider!