October 2021 Newsletter
We are really pleased to have moved into our new Surgery on Nates Lane. I hope lots of you will pop by on Wednesday 13th to have a look. We are planning a bigger get together in the spring all being well. It was also lovely to see a good number of you at the Dairy show this week. We are now consulting for small animals on Wednesdays for your general consultations, vaccines etc. Please call to book an appointment.
Herd and Flock Health Plans have been largely done remotely up till now. As restrictions have now eased we are moving to face to face where possible. As always, we need reasonable notice to collate data for performance reviews etc. The Dairy HHP for Red Tractor Standards requires you to be compliant with the National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP). Just about all of our herds are now quarterly monitoring for Johne’s with milk recording but those that are not need to complete some targeted sampling prior to sign off. Again, this takes time so forward planning is essential. Medicine training is now compulsory for Beef & Sheep as well as Dairy. Our Medicine training course on the 27th October is now fully subscribed. We have decided to split the day so Beef & Sheep is at 11.00am and Dairy at 2pm. If you have not yet registered then please call to register your interest and we will announce another date shortly.
There are a few medicine updates for you. Currently Ubrostar Red is out of stock but expected back shortly. Trodax and Tetra Delta have both been discontinued and will not return to market. On the positive side, we have a new pour-on Flukicide for cattle; Solantel. This will treat immature fluke and adults but not the early immatures. It may be a good option for an easy-to-use post housing dose in adult cows where worming is generally not required. Unfortunately, it cannot be used in Dairy Cows.
Coccidiosis is the second most common cause of diarrhoea in calves after Rotavirus and outbreaks often spike in frequency at this time of year. Coccidia are single-celled parasites (not bacteria) and not all species cause a problem. Calves are primarily 3 weeks to 6 months old and can be both housed and grazing. Coccidia are spread between calves via the environment – eggs (oocysts) shed in faeces and survive for long periods despite heat, cold and most disinfectants. They damage the wall of the large intestine by replicating in the gut cells and then erupting. This creates a watery diarrhoea, resulting in straining with mucus and blood seen in the diarrhoea and long term gut damage. Severe cases show depression, loss of appetite, weight loss and dehydration. 95% of cases are not diagnosed and so the key loss with cocci is poor weight gains.
Samples are needed to confirm coccidiosis as the cause but there is a ‘pre-patent period’ where a calf is infected and eggs are not yet visible in the faeces, so repeat testing may be required.
Talk to us about timing and type of product for treatment; remember the parasite has already damaged the gut tissue when you see signs, this stunts performance long term.
Prevention of cases requires excellent hygiene and management. Reduce stocking density, regularly move feed and water troughs and reduce faecal contamination. Avoid mixing different ages of calves and clean and disinfect all buildings between groups of calves. It is important to use a disinfectant that claims effectiveness against coccidial oocysts. Steam cleaning can also be effective. Pastures remain infected for years after so don’t put young calves in the same place year on year. In feed preventative medication can be used but is not a fix for poor management.