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ISSUE 61 Winter/Spring 2018



Inside this issue: Staff News Schmallenberg Update Bull Testing Fluke Bird Flu update ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE IN HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY

Winter/Spring 2018

Staff News Welcome! Charlie Bradshaw We are pleased to welcome Charlie to the farm team. She will mainly be based at Newbiggin but will no doubt be seen around the Dalston area helping out. Charlie graduated from Edinburgh University in 2013 and has since completed an internship in farm animal Medicine and Surgery at Liverpool University before spending the last few years in mixed practice in Derbyshire. Outside of work she spends most of her time in the fells and we hope that her and her husband enjoy living nearer the Lakes.

Good bye! Barry Cooper Many of you will already be aware of Barry’s departure. Barry spent the last 3 ½ years with us at Paragon and his contribution has been greatly appreciated. Barry has decided to return closer to home and has taken a job in Barnard Castle. Good luck Bazza!

Schmallenberg Update SAC have been conducting some bulk milk tests for SBV infections on a number of farms in Scotland during the back end of 2017 (August to November) in an attempt to gauge the likely level of infection this year. At the start of the survey, 4/50 farms were already positive, indicating that they had been exposed to infection prior to sampling – probably in 2016. By the end of the survey, a further 6 farms had seroconverted, indicating active infection in 2017, and these were all in Dumfries and Galloway. There is obviously therefore a potential for further problems with SBV in this area in sheep and spring calving cattle this year. A vaccine is now available to protect against schmallenberg. Please speak to one of the vets for more information. LIVESTOCK NEWS

Winter/Spring 2018

Are your bulls ready for the breeding season? By Shona Mouncey Despite the fact that bulls contribute 50% to the herd's fertility, they are often the forgotten members of the herd yet assessing their fertility prior to the breeding season can play a vital part in the success, and therefore the profitability of the unit. Although it is rare to find a completely sterile bull, studies show that approximately 20% of the UK bull population is subfertile. Whilst subfertile animals will be capable of getting some animals pregnant, they will not be achieving the targets that are necessary to maintain a tight calving period, which is an essential part of farm management. A mature bull should be expected to serve 40 cows within a 9 week block and achieve at least a 95% pregnancy rate. Subfertile bulls will result in more barren cows and an extended calving period which is a challenge to disease control as well as a nuisance. Identifying subfertile bulls without a fertility exam is difficult and by the time you scan your cows and have a poor result, it is too late for the profitability of that season. The best approach is to be proactive and have them tested before they go in with the cows. Breeding soundness exams can be easily carried out on farm. A full clinical exam is carried out to ensure that the animal is not suffering from any disease or lameness, and is therefore physically capable of working throughout the breeding season. The next step is to assess the fertility of the bull as in this case, size does matter! Scrotal circumference is measured, the internal and external sexual organs are assessed and a semen sample is collected. Straight away on farm the semen is assessed under the microscope for motility and then stained to be examined at the practice to ensure the sperm are not deformed. Through the Paragon Advanced Breeding team, the same semen sample can be preserved and made in straws for AI purposes (after gaining the necessary license prior to collection). Common reasons that animals fail breeding soundness exams include poor semen motility, deformed sperm, lameness and physical abnormalities which render them incapable of mating. Exams should be carried out 6 – 8 weeks prior to the start of the breeding season, as this will allow time to find replacements or retest the animal if required. Bulls which are working year round, e.g. sweeper bulls within dairy herds should be tested annually or sooner if a problem is suspected. Although it is another job to add to the list, testing ahead of the breeding season could save you hours of worrying next year and it is definitely a worthwhile investment. LIVESTOCK NEWS

Winter/Spring 2018

Treatment & Control of Fluke By Caroline Abbott As you’ll all be well aware the Summer of 2017 has been one of the wettest on record, with higher than average rainfall in the period from May to October. As a result this winter has seen a high-risk for liver fluke, meaning chronic liver fluke will be encountered in sheep flocks during late winter/early spring unless action is taken now! Poor scanning results may be the first indication that there is a liver fluke problem on your farm, and may be limited to only one group of sheep depending upon their autumn/winter grazing. It is important to use the appropriate drug for each situation and to base treatments on fluke forecasts (see for regional forecasts). Most flukicidal products on the market are effective in treating adult fluke (see table below), but few are effective in treating immature fluke. Triclabendazole is the most widely used flukicide because of its activity against immature fluke. Unfortunately this has led to the development of resistance, and reports of resistance across the UK & Cumbria continue to rise. It is therefore vital to check the status on your farm. Rotational use of Triclabendazole, Closantel, Nitroxynil or Oxyclozanide should be considered where flukicides are used strategically, and it is important to remember that Flukicides DO NOT have any residual activity. Therefore, if treated animals are put back on the pasture that is infected they will become re-infected.

You also need to make sure that clostridial vaccinations are up-to-date (see below). Black disease is a major cause of losses in sheep (and cattle) that have had their livers damaged by liver fluke.

Black Disease in Sheep We and the SAC are diagnosing more of this condition in sheep, mainly ewes, caused by Clostridium novyi which can be a normal bacteria of the liver. It is associated with fluke migration through the liver with the bacteria subsequently multiplying in the damaged tissue and usually causes sudden death. Black disease is preventable using an appropriate vaccine and ewes either un-vaccinated or vaccinated with Lambivac or Ovivac P (which do not protect against C novyi) are more widely affected. We would recommend using Heptavac P to provide cover against Black disease. LIVESTOCK NEWS

Winter/Spring 2018

Mobility Scoring With 36% of cows lame on any given day and with an average cost of lameness at £180, it is estimated that on average lameness costs equate to 1ppl. Paragon Vet Group have recently invested in new computer software to help record herd levels of lameness. Extracts from a mobility report are shown below. An independent mobility score regularly carried out by a Vet or trained Vet Tech can: 

 

Identify cows which require immediate treatment; those that would benefit from examination in the near future and those which are sound requiring no treatment. Be used to monitor ratios of herd mobility scores over time and track changes following implementation of improvements in management. Generate reports which are easy to interpret and satisfy farm assurance scheme requirements.

Please contact the practice if this is something you feel would be beneficial for your herd.



Examine Soon

Current Herd Breakdown

Treat Immediately

Breakdown of Affected Limbs


Winter/Spring 2018

Interesting Case – ‘Choke in Alpaca’ By Charlotte Pennington Recently in January I was called to attend a 16yo female alpaca presenting with signs of “choke” after eating pelleted feed earlier in the day. Choke occurs when the oesophagus (food pipe) becomes blocked by something (most commonly food). Any animal is potentially susceptible to choke however horses and alpacas can be prone to the condition. Alpacas usually become choked when they gulp their food quickly or spit excessively whilst eating. In this case the alpaca showed signs including teeth grinding, excess drooling, regurgitation of food (due to not being able to swallow) and general discomfort. Other signs to look out for can include a “knot” being felt on the neck at the area where the obstruction occurred, dehydration, coughing and colic. Choke is treated by removing the obstruction. Sometimes cases of choke self resolve (although a knot may still be felt in the neck where the muscles of the food pipe go into spasm). Initially Food is withheld to prevent any worsening of the condition. Usually when drooling has stopped it is a good sign that the obstruction has gone although the animal may still be uncomfortable for a time after due to inflammation and spasm of the food pipe. Obviously the quicker the obstruction can be cleared, the less damage and risk of complications there are. Other methods that can be used to relieve symptoms include drugs to sedate the animal and relax the muscles in the food pipe and also the careful passing of a stomach tube to detect and aid removal the obstruction. Following an case of simple choke with prompt relief of the obstruction, most animals return to normal however there are potential complications including aspiration pneumonia ( where food is swallowed into the lungs causing infection and breathing difficulties) and megaoesophagus ( where the food pipe is irreversibly stretched and damaged leading to chronic problems with eating). On rare occasions surgical intervention is needed to remove obstructions. The risk of choke can be reduced with changes to feeding regimes e.g feeding off the ground or methods to reduce the speed at which food is consumed. In this case the alpaca had the food obstruction removed with the aid of a stomach tube and gentle fluid flush. Food was withheld for 24 hours to allow inflammation to settle and she was also covered with anti-inflammatory and antibiotics to prevent the risk of secondary complications. I’m pleased to say she made a speedy recovery and was back to her normal self the following day! LIVESTOCK NEWS

Winter/Spring 2018

Update on Bird Flu There have been some recent incidents of bird flu in wild birds reported from Dorset and Warwickshire. The strain identified so far is H5N6, a different strain from the infection that was more widespread last year. This strain has been recorded in a number of places on the continent but seems to be passed between wild and domestic birds less frequently than some previous strains. APHA has declared an England-wide Protection Zone which requires poultry keepers to maintain or increase the biosecurity on their premises to reduce the risk of cross-infection. The most likely carrier birds will be wildfowl, particularly as winter progresses and wild ducks, geese and swans move across from the continent in search of open water and feed in the (relatively!) mild UK. Keeping domestic poultry away from ponds and ensuring their feed and water is protected from wildfowl is a worthwhile measure that most keepers can take fairly easily and will go a long way towards protecting their flock. The areas of highest risk are those where migratory birds regularly occur such as the Solway plain as Pink-footed geese will be moving up the country from Southport and Norfolk in particular over the next few weeks before they fly off to Iceland to breed. Bird Flu is generally most severe in chickens and tends to lead to sudden death in a large proportion of the flock. Ducks and geese are usually less affected with mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and blood samples are often required to confirm a diagnosis. Any suspicions of Bird should be reported to APHA and further advice can be obtained at

Product Information Cyclex Disinfectant A new disinfectant has been launched which is particularly effective against Cryptosporidium, one of the major causes of calf score. We would recommend using this disinfectant in calving areas and calf pens. Please contact the practice if you want to order any Cyclex.

Life Aid Sachets Very shortly Life Aid Sachets will be changing colour. This is due to a change in regulations and has no effect on how the product works – Same stuff, different colour. The colour of the current powder is pink which reconstitutes to an orange solution. Now the product will be a white powder which reconstitutes to a colourless (maybe slightly hazy) solution. LIVESTOCK NEWS

Upcoming Events Dairy Tech 2018 - Wednesday 7th February 2018 Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, CV8 2LZ AHDB Beef Cattle Nutrition Workshop - Thursday 8th February 2018, 12.30pm. Barrockend Farm, Armathwaite. Join AHDB Beef & Lamb for this event where the different requirements of the growing and finishing stages of an animals life will be discussed. Paragon Flock Health Club Sheep Meeting - Thursday 15th February 2018. Topic - Ewe nutrition. Location TBC Borderway Dairy Expo - Saturday 10th March 2018 H&H Borderway Mart, Carlisle CA1 2RS Paragon Flock Health Club Sheep Meeting - Wednesday 13th June 2018. Topic Worm control & anthel mintic resistance in sheep. Location TBC.

Contact us: Paragon Veterinary Group

Townhead Veterinary Centre

Carlisle House, Townhead Road Dalston, Carlisle, CA5 7JF Tel: (01228) 710208

Newbiggin, Stainton, Penrith, CA11 0HT Tel: (01768) 483789

Paragon January 2018 farm newsletter 1  
Paragon January 2018 farm newsletter 1