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Livestock NEWS New bolus - Kexxtone Milk pregnancy test for cattle

Ketosis, or negative energy balance, is a problem for many dairy cows, particularly high yielding herds. Seen either as clinical cases of slow fever, or as a sub-clinical ‘grumbling under the surface’ problem with poor fertility amongst other problems. LDAs are more common in herds with ketosis.

A milk test has recently been developed for pregnancy diagnosis in cattle. Currently most dairy farms use a vet to scan for pregnancy from 30 days post service. Although the new milk test can't be used till later into pregnancy (approximately 60 days), it should be a useful back-up to scanning; some cows may lose their calf after having been scanned in calf, and go un-noticed until it's too late to re-serve.

MAY 2013

Contact us: PARAGON VETERINARY GROUP CALDEW VETERINARY HOSPITAL Carlisle House, Townhead Road, Dalston, Carlisle

Tel: (01228) 710208 TOWNHEAD VETERINARY CENTRE Townhead Veterinary Centre, Newbiggin, Stainton, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0HT

Tel: (01768) 483789

Strategic milk tests (taken during monthly milk recording) should pick up most of these cows.

It's recommended to get a vet to check any cows testing negative on the milk test, as some false results do occur.

PARAGON ET The Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham, Northumberland NE46 3SG

The test is expected to be available shortly through CIS and NMR.

Tel: (01434) 600566

Elanco have recently released two products: ●

A simple ‘dipstick’ milk test, to use as a routine herd check for sub-clinical ketosis. A bolus - called Kexxtone - given to dry cows to help prevent ketosis.

Currently we're seeing lots of problems, as herds run out of good quality forage, making it difficult to maintain energy levels in cow rations. Now might be a good time to start checking your herd


visit us at:

for ketosis, and discussing with your vet the possibility of using Kexxtone boluses to help cows along, before the long-awaited spring grass and first cut silage becomes available. Kexxtone boluses are given to high risk cows, 3-4 weeks before calving. The bolus slowly releases a product called Monensin, which helps shift the bacterial population of the rumen towards those that maximise energy production for the cow.



Pasteurized Milk and Colostrum for calves Feeding waste milk that otherwise would be discarded has great financial appeal to dairy producers and calf rearers. But the disease side effects (E. coli, salmonella, mycoplasmas, Johnes, mastitis pathogens, viruses and many more) of feeding raw milk should be considered. Heat treatment of waste milk to reduce (not eliminate) the bacterial and/or viral population in it makes sense. Currently two ways of pasteurising calf milk are commonly used in the dairy industry and they are:

Batch pasteurisation: large static volume of milk, heated at a minimum temperature for a set time.

HTST/Flash pasteurisation: high turbulent milk flow, heated at high temperature for short time (HTST). Effectiveness of calf milk pasteurisation Studies have shown that pasteurisation, both batch and HTST, is effective in destroying viable bacteria for most pathogenic species. However mycoplasma species are best inactivated by heat treatment to 70°C (158°F) for three minutes. The efficacy of pasteurisation in destroying Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) remains controversial. Because Mycobacterium species (Johnes) tends to clump together in a static environment and thus protecting itself against heat penetration, it is believed that turbulent flow pasteurisation is more effective in reducing Mycobacterium bacterial load in milk.

MAY 2013


Coccidia are single cell parasites that inhabit the gut wall of animals. The coccidia breed in the gut wall cells then emerge, causing damage to the gut wall and after several cycles in the gut wall release infective oocysts into the environment. Different coccidia infest different areas of the intestine and have variable effects, meaning some species are more pathogenic than others. Adult animals are largely immune from the pathogenic effects and can have large numbers of oocysts in their faeces with little problem apart from being a source of infection for young animals. Oocysts are also very resistant and can contaminate environments for years. Peak coccidiosis infection occurs from 3 weeks to 6 months (typically 4-6 weeks in lambs) but can occasionally occur later. The primary sign is diarrhoea - in calves this is often bloody and the calf may strain Lambs will also dehydrate, may become anaemic and often have gut pain with reduced suckling. Nematodirus can also cause severe scour in lambs and is usually worse in years when it has been cold then suddenly warms up. Lambs usually show clinical signs before they shed eggs making faecal egg counts unreliable for this species. Look on the SCOPs website for an up to date forecast. White drenches are still effective against Nematodirus.

Control measures include; ●

Hygiene - keeping pens clean and dry, disinfecting between batches with a coccicidal disinfectant such as Kilcox extra®, moving creep feeders regularly etc On farms with a known risk incorporating decoquinate in feed. This can be used for young stock but also in ewe feed or licks to reduce oocyst pressure in the environment. A veterinary prescription is required before the feed merchant can produce medicated feed or licks. Treatment of affected stock. 2 different drenches are available but this requires targeting treatment at any known risk period and runs the risk of missing heavy infections in some animals, allowing gut damage to reduce growth potential. Clearly prevention is far more effective.

Coccidia like a moist environment so wet straw beds are ideal for them, but wet areas around creep feeders and water troughs can also be a problem outdoors. Each species of animal has its own types of coccidia, so calves and lambs are not at risk from chickens for example (although if you are rearing replacement poults they can get coccidia from the hens just the same as lambs getting them from ewes).

Colostrum pasteurisation Colostrum is a more difficult product to handle pasteurisation because of its high viscosity. Furthermore, there is loss of important immunoglobulins (up to 30%) which is even more pronounced in high quality colostrum. Although colostral immunoglobulins concentrations are significantly decreased by pasteurisation, it is not believed that this results in an unmanageable level that would preclude the use of colostrum for passive immunity transfer if high quality colostrum is used. Economic considerations Research has shown that calves fed pasteurized colostrum and milk had fewer sick days, lower mortality rates, lower costs for health expenses, higher weights at weaning and higher gross margins per calf (up to £7), as compared to calves fed non-pasteurised milk and up to £25 compared to calves fed milk-replacer.

There is some free testing available to determine which species of coccidia are present in your youngstock and their likely pathogenicity - speak to one of the Large Animal Vets

May 2013 Farm Newsletter  

Client Newletter

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