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Health

As well as timely articles on health issues, our team of vets have created some specific health information on cattle, these include technical notes, podcasts and videos.  There are also numerous industry driven resources on cattle health, links can be found in the below section.

Calf Scour Practical Guide

Scour is a common problem in the first weeks of a calf’s life, and it can be a cause of
significant mortality – in fact in one survey 48% of farmers had lost animals to scour in the previous year.  Even when the calf recovers, the labour required to nurse a sick animal as well as the resulting loss in growth rate both have a cost.  Read more>>

Technical Note - Treatment & Control of Liver Fluke In Sheep & Cattle

The number of disease outbreaks due to the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica has increased in recent years.  The disease poses a threat to animal welfare and may cause economic loss through mortality, reduced production, liver condemnation, predisposition to other diseases and the cost of treatment and control.  Read more>>

Technical Note - Pneumonia In Beef Cattle

Calf pneumonia is a significant source of financial loss in beef production.  It is a multifactorial disease and husbandry and management factors are important triggers for common infectious micro organisms to multuply and cause pneumonia.  Read more>>

Salmonella Dublin In Beef Herds

Salmonella Dublin can cause significant impacts on health and mortality rates during the calving period.  However only 10% of the confirmed diagnosis are from beef herds.

It presents itself differently in beef herds compared to dairy herds.   Read more>>

Salmonella Dublin - A Risk To The Beef Herd

Salmonella Dublin is a bacterium which more often causes disease in dairy herds than beef herds.  However, buying in calves to twin on or rear, or buying beef x dairy replacement heifers can all be sources of risk to the beef herd.  Read more>>

Feed Borne Abortions In Spring Calving Beef Herds

A recent two-year study by Tim Geraghty of SRUC Veterinary Services showed that abortions were responsible for 3% of calf losses from PD to weaning in suckler herds in the North East of Scotland. This is a significant loss of potential income to the producer alongside the cost of running a cow empty for the year. Of this 3%, post mortem examinations identified feed borne or environmental agents to be the cause of abortion in the majority of cases.  Read more>>

Consider Antibiotic Use This Calving Season

Why?  By 2050, antimicrobial resistance is predicted to be the biggest cause of human mortality, exceeding cancer.  Reducing dependence on antibiotics is important to preserve their use in human and animal medicine.  E-coli, for instance, the bacteria responsible for watery mouth, already has a high resistance to antibiotics on some farms.  So, for your livestock and for our fellow human beings, we should seek to reduce antibiotics where possible.   Read more>>

Fluke In Fit Cows

Farmers across the country were exposed to a challenging autumn, where rainfall was high and ground conditions were difficult.  2019 year will be remembered for a challenging harvest but also for an abundance of grass.  This abundance of grass has led to most cows across the country being in very good (if not too good) condition.  With beef prices under extreme pressure and farmers looking for ways to save money, some may look at cow condition and decide not to dose their cows for liver fluke this year.  This decision could cost a lot more money than it might save.  Read more>>

Managing A Period Of High Grass Staggers Risk

Staggers is caused by cows having a lack of Magnesium and is often fatal to cows, impacting on both animal welfare and business profitability.  Here are a few simple steps to reduce the risk of staggers affecting your herd.  Read more>>

Winter Housing and Lice

Coming off grass there is the risk that these animals will bring inside with them a burden of parasites.  Winter housing is a key time to treat for both external and internal parasites. Read more>>

Lungworm Vigilance

Autumn is a key time for symptoms of lungworm also known as husk or parasitic bronchitis to become apparent. Typically the parasite becomes an issue in late summer through to November with peaks of diagnosed cases in September and October.  Read more>>

Abortion In Cattle Due To Bacilus Licheniformis

You may not have heard of it but this bacteria is the most commonly diagnosed cause of abortion in Scottish cattle.  SRUC Veterinary Services data shows that over a 10 year period it accounted for one third of all infectious abortion diagnoses.  Bacillus licheniformis abortions are most common in housed, pit silage fed, spring calving beef cows in the last 2 months of pregnancy.  It can also have a role in still births.  Read more>>

Copper:  Know Your Limits!

Trace elements play an important role in livestock nutrition and contribute significantly towards health, immunity, growth, fertility and lactation. The functions of many hormones and enzymes are depended on trace elements and therefore they are essential for normal body function. However, care must be taken to ensure that supplementation overcomes any deficiencies in forage but at the same time, the risk of toxicity and exceeding legal limits must be avoided.  Read more>>

Tips For Injecting Cattle And Sheep

Bruising, abscesses and trauma are the three main reasons for beef and sheep carcases to be rejected at slaughter.  A common cause of abscesses (a collections of pus in confined tissue spaces) is bacterial infection resulting from poor needle practice, particularly in the use of dirty needles.  In young stock these abscesses and lesions can stay present from the time of injection until slaughter.   Read more>>

Beware Of Summer Pneumonia

Generally this time of year (mid-summer) is a time when suckler farmers relax a little. The stress of calving is over and cows and calves are out at grass however the recent spell of warm and wet weather coupled with the significant temperature differentials between day and night has seen a number of farmers across the country reporting cases summer pneumonia amongst calves.  Read more>>

Fly Strike Warning

As the wet weather continues and temperatures start to warm up (creating the ideal conditions for blowfly) there is the increased risk of fly strike among cattle and sheep. Farmers should be on the lookout for the signs of fly strike now as June and July are typically the months when cases peak.  Read more>>

Johne's Disease - Do You Know The Risk?

The Johne’s status of a herd is categorised on a Risk Level basis with the lowest level being the best risk level to buy from. This risk level accreditation system means that buyers can see the risk of introducing Johne’s before they buy the animal.  Read more>>

Changes To TB Control Measures & Compensation

Changes to disease control measures and compensation for Bovine TB took effect from 12th December 2018.  These changes  are intended to safeguard the TB controls which are already in place both when purchasing and moving cattle throughout Scotland.  Read more>>

Lead Alert

Analysis of SRUC Vet Centre data for the past 5 years shows that 92.5% of lead poisoning cases were diagnosed during the grazing season.  Of these almost three quarters occurred in May and June.  The time of greatest risk is the period immediately following turn out.  The majority involved cattle aged 2 years or less with animals under a year accounting for half.  Read more>>

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