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New Entrants to Farming: It’s A Fluke – Event Summary

27 March 2018

New Entrants to Farming from Caithness recently attended an informative, hands on workshop on the importance of the vet labs and disease surveillance at the SAC Veterinary Services Centre at Janetstown, Thurso.

Dawn Alderson, the Centre Manager, began the meeting with an overview of the work carried out by SAC at the Thurso Lab.  The new entrants were then provided with protective clothing and given a tour of the lab facilities.  Dawn did this by following the trail that a sample by the attendees would follow from booking in to results and everything in between.  Dawn also went through some topical issues at this time of year in the area, such as listeria.

She also discussed and showed how bacteria etc is cultured on specific agar plates, and also how they can test for any antibiotic resistance and then record all of the findings onto the computer.  Dawn also went through the process of worm egg counts and showed the group examples of different intertinal parasites found in cattle and sheep.

The group then moved to the post mortem (PM) room where Sinclair Manson explained to the group each step of the process of a PM and what he is looking for and what things he would analyse further if required.  The two topics he centred on were sheep abortions and liver fluke.  Sinclair had a liver which had severe liver fluke damage and this certaibly created a lot of discussion.

This was a really informative meeting that gave the group a useful insight into how the cause of conditions are investigated and diagnosed at the Thurso vet lab and that it is a worthwhile process to ensure overall herd/flock health on-farm.

This workshop generated a lot of good discussion which allowed those attending to take home some very useful information that can be put into practice on-farm.

Take home messages included:

  1. Undertake sampling to minimise exposure to resistance
  2. When dosing for Liver fluke, be mindful of the product you are using and the timing of it.
  3. Where an animal has died, particularly from an unknown cause, submit it to the lab for PM as soon as possible. Ideally animals should be submitted within 24 – 48 hours to allow the vets to carry out investigations on fresh animals.
  4. In abortion/still birth cases, take the placenta for PM too, if possible, as this can aid diagnosis.
  5. In abortion/still birth cases, take the first case rather than waiting.
  6. When taking dung samples to the lab, ensure they are kept cool and are filled to the top.
  7. Post mortem examination is a more effective way to diagnose/rule out a range of conditions or deficiencies.


Related Downloads
Technical Note (TN677): Treatment and Control of Liver Fluke in Sheep and Cattle
The number of disease outbreaks due to the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica has increased in recent years with unprecedented numbers of sheep affected in 2012/13.
Topics: Livestock

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