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July 2018

In this edition... • Page Three Girl... • LLM News - Hold onto your hats! • New NSAID on the market • To castrate or not to castrate? 1

Contents • New feature: Page Three Girl! • Upcoming Events • LLM News - Hold onto your hats! • New NSAID on the Market • To castrate or not to castrate? • People Pages - Introducing our new VetTechs

LLM Farm Vets Contacts Whitchurch...........01948 663000 Eccleshall.............01785 472211 Wrexham..............01978 280580 Pharmacy.............01948 302424 Accounts..............01948 663059 LLM Vet Team Charlie Lambert 07974 264272 Bill May 07968 318493 Simon King 07973 271754 Tom Wright 07590 183804 Dan Stevenson 07894 586233 Den Leonard 07970 267494 Mike Christie 07775 561820 Mark Hickinson 07841 919223 Sarah Gibbs 07711 593783 Rob Hall 07889 408092 2

Claire Whittle 07841 775695 Tom Jackson 07837 291097 Amy Glanvill 07590 183803 Tom Downes 07703 189224 Hannah Batty 07841 919227

Lancashire Vets Ian Cure 07590 225284 Rob Howe 07590 225283 Matt Hylands 07584 684919 Alun Beckett 07850 326432 Roland Millar 07894 406225

Lancashire...........01772 866014 Clitheroe...............01200 545456 Bakewell...............01629 691692

TB Team

VetTech Team

Janka Zaleska 07894 586231

Natalie Parker 07841 775697

Alberto Alaman 07720 737872

Emily Hallett 07845 817070

Daniel Ververis 07730 765543

Rachel Cooper 07834 547832

Giulia Vida 07714 770328

Danielle Davies 07841 501655

Des Leonard 07811 342289

Bertie Martin 07711 593780

Florin Gaina 07720 740881

Steph Cowgill 07505 443231

UKET Team Spike Newman 07921 374036 UKET Office 01948 663124 Stan Matthews 07971 118909

Joe Wheeler 07849 835379

Page Three Girl...

Think one of your animals has what it takes to become our Page 3 Model? It could be your favourite cow or sheep, your best milker, an animal with unusual markings or just one that has a funny quirk! Hell, it could even be the Bull! Please send all photos to: along with a little blurb about them and we can get them featured on this page. (Animal photos only please, Claire’s email gets enough spam!)

Our Page 3 Stunner this month is Heritage Gatland Mary. She grew up at Hollins farm, owned by Richard Hocknell and had this to say: “Gosh, what an honour! Thanks to my mum who put me up for this. She’s been so busy, she has given 105tonnes over 11 lactations, she never stops! I’ve just peaked at 36L/day after calving at 21months and I’m hoping to become classifed VG which is looking very likely!! My hobbies include getting cuddles from my work dad, John and curling up with Vicky to watch Love Island at night, I’m a huge fan.” (just like our resident vet Dan S then...) 3

Welcome to the July edition of your newsletter! Looking outside at the start of another blisteringly hot day it’s hard to believe there was snow on the ground just two months ago! The current heatwave has slowed grass growth right down affecting silage yields, which will no doubt present some challenges next winter, although many cows have been milking well over the past few months on the back of last year’s forages and we have not yet seen the effects of the heat on pregnancy rates. In recent times, there has been an increase in mastitis in grazed cows, in hot humid weather as cows ‘camp’ under shaded areas that get heavily contaminated with Strep Uberis. After many years of R&D there is a new mastitis vaccine, ‘UBAC’ against this common mastitis pathogen, which should be available in the Autumn – it was launched at the recent NMC meeting in Milan and trial results suggest a reduction in cases of up to 50% in vaccinated cows. There will be more on UBAC in future editions so stay tuned in. Thanks to everyone who came to see us on the stand at the season 4

opener at Stafford. We also ventured to Derbyshire show to support LLM’s new start-up practice in Bakewell and trialled Ian’s sister bar to ‘The Lucky Cow’, which this year actually made it to the show rather than ending up jack-knifed in the fast lane of the M6! This issue sees Hannah relay some of her New Zealand experiences on calf management and Charlie talking about the pros and cons of the different bull castration techniques. Elsewhere, Amy looks at a different approach to managing calf pneumonia using the powdered in feed NSAID, Solacyl and Mark fills the ‘Ewes News’ slot with an article on reproductive efficiency. Enjoy the sunshine, Bill

Upcoming Events You are invited to the launch of the LLM


Maximising cost effective milk production at grass 9th July 2018, 7:30pm at the Whitchurch practice What are the aims of the group?

Ideally this working group will enable knowledge transfer between farmers and vets alike, focusing on maximising the cost effectiveness of block calving herds and grass based milk production. The group will provide regular benchmarking of performance parameters.

Who is the group for?

Anyone interested in improving and maintaining the health and performance of the herd, whilst maximising production cost efficiency by utilising grass.

Where will the meetings be?

There will be a mixture of on-farm and classroom based meetings, with three meetings planned per year. Following an initial introductory meeting, where we’d like to hear what you want from the group and any topics of interest/ ideas for meetings, we can draw up a diary of dates. Performance parameters will be anonymously benchmarked providing the opportunity for you to compare yourselves to similar farms.

What do you need to bring to the initial meeting?

All you need for the first introductory meeting is enthusiasm and an interest in block calving systems/ grass based production There is no commitment to join the group! Think less of a “preaching/ teaching” group and more interactive, with positive and proactive discussions.

Please text Hannah (07841919227) to confirm your place.


Show Season! The 2018 show season is upon us and we’re pleased to announce we will be attending the following shows! It would be great to have a catch up with you all, so make sure you call by our stand: Newport Show - Saturday 14th July Great Eccleston Show - 14th & 15th July Nantwich Show - Wednesday 25th July Garstang Show - Saturday 4th August Oswestry Show - Saturday 4th August Hodder Valley - Saturday 8th September Hope Show - Monday 27th August UK Dairy Day - Wednesday 12th September Brailsford Ploughing Match - Weds 3rd October

Classifieds 4X VASECTOMISED TUPS FOR SALE Please call Jack on 07730217813 for more information

Have you ever been unable to sell a tank of milk due to it being too warm, high SCC or high water content? If you are ever in this predicament, this can be legitimately collected and paid for. Phone Rob on 07967 565264.



Hold on to your hats…we’re starting up in Derbyshire! We’re very excited to share the news with you that we are shortly going to be opening a practice in Derbyshire. As a practice, we are always on the look out for new opportunities that will help bring progression to the livestock industry. This has brought about the development of a number of additional offerings to you such as our VetTech and UKET services, as well as our presence in Lancashire. So, following a new opportunity and market research in the area, we will soon be open for business in Derbyshire. Our the site lots

base will be in Bakewell on Riverside Industrial Park, a with very easy access and of parking – perfect! We also

have new business partners lined up to take on the new venture, all of which are passionate livestock vets, avid about helping improve on farm health and productivity. These new partners will be delivering all the clinical services in the area and will have the support of both the Whitchurch and Lancashire LLM teams for wider offerings and business administration. Our target for official opening is the beginning of August, so for now please watch this space as we will be attending shows in the area and planning some initial welcome meetings over the next few months. If you have any questions, like always, please give us a call!


Case of the month - Tom Downes reports I was called to examine a down, dehydrated February-born dairy heifer that had gone downhill rapidly over two days. The rest of the group seemed bright and well.

diagnosis, I opened up her lungs and airways last. As soon as I did all became clear! They were filled with bloody froth and adult lungworms as you can see from the picture below.

When I examined her she had a slightly increased heart rate. increased breathing rate and diarrhoea but seemed remarkably bright. The group hadn’t been wormed for a while and were due a faecal egg count (FEC). There were some concern about potential toxicity as they were on fairly rough grazing with some noxious weeds around. Despite the unusual presentation, I leapt to a likely diagnosis of gut worms and confidently took a faecal sample back to the practice to confirm this. Poisoning was certainly a possibility but is quite uncommon and as one of our lecturers once put it “if you hear hooves, think horses before zebras”. My early confidence and optimism was sadly short lived. Firstly, I did a FEC on the muck sample and failed to find a single worm egg. I had to conclude that there was in fact no worm burden. I called to relay this back to the farmer and was promptly told that she had died after I left. Determined to establish what had happened I decided to perform a onfarm post mortem (PM). 20minutes in, I was starting to sweat and with little hope of reaching a conclusive 8

I strongly advised that he treat the remainder of the group ASAP and in future consider using vaccination. In summary, it is very unusual to see lungworm this early in the year and especially in heifers during their first grazing season. So be vigilant! Especially if you have moved away from blanket worm treatment and are worming strategically.

Ewes News

Now is the time to get your ewes in order! Hopefully, by now a large percentage of your lambs will be away and the ewes will be having a rest. It won’t be long however before the first tups will be going in for those early lambers so now is a critical time to make sure that the ewes are checked to optimise reproduction efficiency before it’s too late to do anything about it. Mark talks us through... Whether it is low scanning percentages, prolonged lambing periods, too many abortions or high barren rates, reproduction efficiency can always be enhanced. On the whole, there are a number of common reasons to explain why many flocks underperform. Furthermore, most of these are relatively easy to prevent. The majority of abortions in sheep are caused by Toxoplasma or Chlamydia (enzootic), both of which are preventable by vaccination. These vaccinations should be administered four months prior to the tup going in so don’t leave it too late to order yours! Deficiency in certain minerals in ewe’s diets are important in achieving good conception rates and thus scanning percentages too. Additionally, they

are also are linked to thriftiness of lambs and daily live weight gains. Mineral supplementation is an easy way of correcting these deficiencies with a number of mineral boluses available depending on the type of deficiency being experienced. Whilst bolus administration requires more work than providing lick buckets, the levels of supplementation tend to be more consistent. Simple blood tests are available to provide answers to many of the issues raised above, some of which are subsidised and thus can be carried out at relatively low cost. Many flocks continue with a seemingly acceptable low productivity rate so why not call one of the vets to discuss how you can improve your flock’s profitability.


New Product - Solacyl At this time of year we usually see fewer cases of calf pneumonia and scours. However, any extra stressors, such as disbudding, vaccinations or group changes will make calves more susceptible to disease. Amy Glanvill introduces the newest NSAID on the market, Solacyl. NSAIDs are medicines which aim to: 1. Reduce inflammation 2. Decrease or prevent fever 3. Relieve pain For most farmers, injecting with a Non Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) and possibly an antibiotic would be the first port of call in these cases. In turn, calves feel better; maintain their appetites and therefore growth rates and also recover more quickly. In cases of calf pneumonia the use of NSAIDs alongside antibiotics has been recommended as a first line treatment protocol for some time now. More recent focus on reducing antibiotic usage in cattle has led to interest in using NSAIDs alone early on in the course of viral pneumonia and delaying 10

the routine use of antibiotics. Additionally, the use of Fever Tags can allow earlier identification of sick calves, especially in a group situation, which allows us to more effectively use this ‘NSAID only’ approach. If we were able to easily provide a NSAID to all animals within a group at the time of a known stress factor (i.e. prophylactically) it may help to prevent clinical disease from showing it’s head and provide an alternative to using antibiotics prophylactically in this way. Solacyl © (sodium salicylate) is a derivative of aspirin licenced for use in calves, which can be used in

this way. It is a soluble powder that can be mixed with drinking water or milk (replacer) so can be easily administered to groups of calves. It dissolves rapidly and can be left in water for 24 hours or milk replacer for 6 hours. Recent experiences of specialized calf rearers with this product has shown that alongside optimal management practices, the overall use of antibiotics over the rearing period (including prophylactic use on entry) can be significantly reduced. A proportion of calves required antibiotic treatment after Solacyl treatment but this can be administered on an individual rather than a group basis. Consequently the risks of

antibiotic resistance are reduced as well as the overall treatment and rearing costs! The dose of Solacyl for a 50kg calf is 2g once daily for 3 days. It is licenced in calves over two weeks old and works out as a relatively inexpensive way to help manage disease. With responsible antibiotic usage becoming ever more important, using a product such as Solacyl Š to prevent disease will help reduce antibiotic usage, calf morbidity and reduce time spent medicating and managing sick animals. Please contact the office or speak to one of the vets for more information.


Dairy Talk Kiwi Yarns - Hannah discusses youngstock health I’ve been thinking back and reflecting on the good, bad and ugly aspects of NZ calf rearing! There is no escaping the fact that being able to focus on one job at a time means you can adopt a set mindset which can make the job easier. In addition, having similarly aged groups of calves can reduce the risk of diseases such as pneumonia. That said, when things go wrong they can do so on a big scale. So with these thoughts in mind I’ll be covering: Liquid gold and battling bugs… critically important factors for successful calf rearing.

We stick to these rules in order to maximise the chance of the gut absorbing as many antibodies as possible. This is time dependant and begins to reduce as soon as the calf is born. We also find that giving a part feed can trigger the gut to stop absorbing antibodies sooner and so it’s important to get the full volume in within the first 6 hours. Absorption can also be affected by the challenge from bacteria trying to fight for absorption sites with the antibodies, hence the need to keep the bacterial load as low as possible (so keep colostrum in the fridge).

LIQUID GOLD We all know how important it is to ensure calves receive good passive transfer and the general rules for achieving this are:


4 litres (or 10% body weight) volume

Quality colostrum (over 22% on a BRIX refractometer)

Within the first 6 hours

Cleanly collected and delivered (through a well disinfected bottle or tube….that hasn’t been used on the sick calves)

In New Zealand the vast majority of herds pooled colostrum from all cows and did limited testing for Johnes. A red flag (or tag) I hear you cry… and you’d be exactly right. There are real issues with Johnes transmission and the

lack of identifying infected cows. This further increases the risk of infecting future herd replacements. Here in the UK, the Action Johnes scheme is well under way and many of you may have been asked to review your current status, create and action plan and get us to sign a declaration for your buyer. e have a variety of tools to support you and help improve the future of your herd.

immunity (ie. Colostrum) and challenge right! The best way to think about this is almost like a set of scales. We want the factors that help to improve immunity to add up and outweigh the factors that can pose a challenge to calves. Ways of improving immunity include: •

Good colostrum transfer

Vaccination strategies


Similarly to the UK, kiwi calves suffered issues with scouring at a young age. Whilst overseas I tried to emphasise the importance of getting the balance between

Good nutrition (including volume, frequency and type of feeding)

Minimise stress (including temperature, disbudding, group changes etc)


Challenges we face with calves can include:

Poor ventilation: increased pathogen load in the air can increase the risk of conditions such as pneumonia

The best way to think about this is to look at your own calf set up and identify those things you do well to improve the immunity of calves. There are simple easy wins here and getting these right is key! Have a good look at what challenges may be facing calves and see if there are any ways of reducing these. Overall it’s a battle between maximimising immunity and minimising challenge and as always we’re here to help you find the simplest ways of doing this for your own system!



Hygiene: increased bacterial challenge can cause issues such as scour Temperature: requires a calf to use more energy to keep warm as opposed to growing or fighting infection

Damp bedding Infectious load: eg. BVD PI’s constantly excrete infected faeces which challenges any other calves in the pen.


“Bull”etin To castrate or not to castrate? That is the question. With the increase in TB breakdowns across the UK, more farmers are finding themselves ‘closed down’ unable to move animals on or of the premises. This movement restriction can have several financial and welfare implications and one of these is the accumulation of bull calves normally sold at around 2 weeks of age. Charlie Lambert talks us through decision-making when it comes to castration of these animals. Dairy type bull calves have little enough value (currently less than £100) and this value falls significantly if you have TB but are lucky enough to find an Authorised Fattening Unit to take them. Some dairy farms will shoot dairy bull calves at birth but this is not

Burdizzos - used for bloodless castration of calves

common as it goes against most farmers’ natural instinct despite the financial implications of trying to rear them. Most keep and feed these calves and hope to be TB clear at some point allowing the sale of any surplus stock.


The important factor in deciding whether to castrate these bull calves is to try and determine who your final market will be. Traditionally, castrated bulls (Steers) produce better quality marbling in the beef but take longer to rear and will start to get fat at a lower bodyweight than entire bulls. Entire bulls can be reared to a heavier bodyweight and be ready for slaughter in 14 months in intensive, concentrate based systems. If you are to keep bull calves entire, you must be sure that they do not get lost in your system only to reappear at six months old in a group of pregnant heifers! Bull calves will be fertile at 6 months and although your heifers may or may not be fertile, we have performed caesarean sections on


heifers as young as 14 months! Another factor to consider would be aggression if you weren’t able to sell these bull calves as young as you may have liked. Up until about 6 months of age you are probably OK but once the hormones kick in, these bulls can become unpredictable and dangerous. Bull calves can be castrated using 3 common methods: Application of rubber rings by the farmer can be carried out within the first 7 days of age. This may be a cheaper option than involving the vet but can set the calf back at a very crucial age and does involve some infection risks with Clostridia.

Bloodless castration using Burdizzos can be carried out by a farmer up to 2 months of age. Only a vet can legally carry out castrations of bulls over this age. Burdizzos which crush the spermatic cord within the scrotum and cause the testicles to regress have the advantage that there is no wound to bleed or become infected. This may be a castration choice in the summer months when flies are a nuisance.

and virtually no growth check if done early. Where bulls are castrated at an older age, then there is definitely a check in growth rate compared to bulls left entire in the same group.

The associated pain lasts longer than ‘cutting’ and it is difficult to know for some time if an animal has or has not been castrated correctly. Failure to successfully burdizzo a testicle in a group of bulls is commonplace and the outcomes can be disastrous if there are heifers about! Using burdizzos does take a bit longer than cutting and there is always a risk that the user can be hurt by the burdizzos if the bull kicks out.

Please try and avoid leaving your bulls entire until they are 12 months old and then deciding to castrate them. This isn’t great for the bulls and isn’t great for the vet either!

To summarise, where possible, make your mind up in advance, if you are to castrate your bull calves. the best time is pre weaning, around a month old and have them surgically castrated by your vet.


Surgical castration. This must be carried out by a vet and as long as the vet can count to 2, things rarely go wrong! There is however an increased risk of bleeding and infection if calves are cut too old. Ideally calves should be castrated pre-weaning and science would suggest that there is little set back 17

People Pages INTRODUCING...

Bertie & Joe

Bertie Martin - VetTech Originally from an Equine background Bertie jumped ship and joined the LLM farm team in May 2018 after spending 18 months in New Zealand; as well as jumping 16,500ft from a plane Bertie also continued her “adrenaline junky” run by spending a season calf rearing on a dairy farm. During her spare time Bertie is a keen member of her local Young Farmers Club getting stuck in with all competitions from public speaking to Morris dancing. With a degree in Sport Science and Drama you’re guaranteed a “ewenique” service.


Joe Wheeler - VetTech My love of farming began in my early years when I started helping out on a small beef farm on Anglesey. After studying Agriculture with Livestock at Cirencester, I realised dairy was my real calling; by the time my graduation ceremony came around I was already in New Zealand working on a dairy farm. I went on to work across a variety of farming systems, from block calving and grass-based to 365 calving and fully housed, with a particular interest in improving lameness and nutrition. In my spare time I enjoy shooting, working my Collie and exploring the countryside.”

• Vaccinations & Sampling • Mobility Scoring • Disbudding • Growth & Colostrum Checks

The VetTech team offer a range of services which continues to expand. Here is a quick rundown of the services we currently carry out...

• Fluke & Worm Egg Count • Ketosis Monitoring • Fever Tags • TB Test Assistance • Freeze Branding • Digital Dermatitis Blitz Control • Fly Parasite & Control For more information please speak to one of our VetTech team: Natalie - 07841 775697 Rachel - 07834 547832 Danielle - 07841 501655 Bertie - 07711 593780

Joe - 07849 835379 Emily (Lancs) - 07845 817070 Steph (Lancs) - 07505 443231 19

Midlands Whitchurch Old Woodhouses, Broughall, Whitchurch, SY13 4AQ 01948 663000 Eccleshall Unit 19A Raleigh Hall Ind Est, Eccleshall, Staffordshire, ST21 6JL 01785 472211 North Wales Wrexham Unit 24, The Bridgeway Centre, Wrexham Ind Est, LL13 9QS 01978 280580 Lancashire Preston 136 Whittingham Lane, Broughton, Preston, PR3 5DD 01772 866014 Clitheroe Unit 2 Deansfield Court, Link 59 Business Park, Clitheroe, BB7 1QS 01200 545456 Derbyshire Bakewell Riverside Business Park, Buxton Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1GS 01629 691692

LLM Farm Vets July 2018 Newsletter  

This issue sees Hannah relay some of her New Zealand experiences on calf management and Charlie talking about the pros and cons of the diffe...

LLM Farm Vets July 2018 Newsletter  

This issue sees Hannah relay some of her New Zealand experiences on calf management and Charlie talking about the pros and cons of the diffe...