Newsletter October 2018

24 hour emergency service
017683 51819

Office opening hours

Monday-Friday       8am - 6pm
Saturday                  9am - 1pm
Sunday                10am - 11am

Crosscroft Industrial Estate Appleby-in-Westmorland CA16 6HX

October 2018 Edition    

As we say goodbye to summer, it's time to focus on the next challenge, whether that be tupping, autumn calving or just preparing for winter.

'We would like to wish Sophie and Richard massive congratulations on their recent engagement, it really is lovely news and we are all very excited in the office at the prospect of a good party!!!! We wish them all the very best for a long and happy future together.


We would also like to congratulate Kay, our newest recruit, on the safe arrival of her 9 collie puppies.'

Focus on Mastitis

Making the most of your cell count data

Milk recording forms a crucial part of monitoring the health of your cows and can provide a huge amount of useful information when trying to pin point where a problem is coming from. The more regularly you record, the more data there is to work with, however, even less regular testing can aid in diagnosing problems.

So, you have a high cell count cow, what next? Things you should consider when looking at her data

­ Is this her first high cell count? Or has she had high cell counts before, either in this lactation or previous, multiple high cell counts can indicate a chronic infection. If she recorded high before drying off and is still high at first recording, this indicates she hasn’t cured over the dry period.

­ Where is she in her lactation? If this is her first recording after calving, it’s likely she picked up the infection during the dry period or at calving time. If she spikes high later during lactation its likely she’s picked up infection from the parlour or the shed/pasture.

­ Does she have clinical mastitis? Or is the high cell count the only sign, this can help identify which bug might be causing the problem. For example, E.coli mastitis will likely cause visible changes in the milk and a sick cow, but infection with Staph. Aureus can be subclinical ie, only elevated cell counts.

­ Is she the only high cell count cow from the group, or are there multiple cows spiking high at the same time? This could relate to a seasonal or management change, it is worth looking back over previous years data to see if the trend is repeated year on year.

­ What is your herds Johne’s status? Johne’s can contribute to high cell counts and reduced fertility in the herd.

Having considered the above, we can start to target our approach to eliminate the cause of high cell counts in the herd.

Triclabendazole resistance

How to stop it developing on your farm

Liver fluke, or Fasciola hepatica, is considered to be endemic in the wetter areas of the UK. This of course includes the Eden valley and surroundings where we are not unfamiliar with a spot of rain! For years the mainstay of treatment has been products containing Triclabendazole, as these are effective against all stages of fluke. Unfortunately our reliance on Triclabendazole has lead to resistance developing on farms across the country.

Triclabendazole is a drug we still want as part of our armoury when dealing with fluke, but to preserve its usefulness we must use it sparingly and with other measures on farm. Here are some suggestions for tackling fluke;

  1. Grazing management, fence off wetter areas of pasture and consider not grazing high risk pastures during periods of highest risk (late summer/autumn).
  2. Only use flukicides when necessary, take into account the history of occurrence on your farm, parasite forecasting (NADIS provides monthly updates on parasite forecasts) and if we have diagnosed fluke on your farm (through muck sample analysis).
  3. Only use Triclabendazole when targeting immature flukes, at times of the year when acute fluke disease is likely (such as late summer/early autumn) it is appropriate to use triclabendazole. At other times, when targeting mature flukes is the goal (winter, spring and early summer), consider using a different treatment (we stock Albex, Solantel and Closamectin).
  4. Correct dosing, weighing individual animals for dosing is best practice, however we know that this is not always possible, so animals should be grouped together according to estimated weight and dosed for the heaviest animal in the group. Underdosing animals can lead to some fluke surviving.
  5. Quarantine incoming stock, reducing the risk of introducing resistant fluke to your farm, SCOPS and COWS provide good guidelines for quarantining sheep and cows respectively.
  6. Carry out resistance testing via faecal egg reduction tests so we can assess the current situation on your farm. Please call the surgery to discuss or for the protocol for testing.

Top tips for Tups Preventing blocked rams                                      

Stones, or uroliths, can form in the bladder of tups fed on concentrate rations that are high in phosphate and magnesium. These stones can then lodge in the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside), and cause a full or partial blockage. A blocked urethra not only causes severe discomfort, but can lead to kidney failure and death if left untreated.

What to look for:

­ Teeth grinding and signs of pain                   ­ Lack of appetite

­ Separation from the group                           ­ Swollen prepuce

­ Bloody urine dripping from the prepuce

­ Presence of crystals in the wool around the prepuce may be indicative of stones, but can also be present in normal tups.

If you notice a tup displaying any/all of the above signs, please contact us for advice as prompt veterinary treatment is essential in cases of blocked rams.

This problem can be avoided by providing a source of fresh accessible water, adding ammonium chloride to the ration, supplementing the diet with sodium chloride (to increase water intake) and providing adequate roughage to stimulate saliva production and increase water uptake.

‘WORM YOUR HORSE’ ­ due to the weather conditions this summer we are seeing a huge and sudden burden of worms in our equine population. This is causing serious clinical signs including colic which is leading to death in some cases. Please prevent the risk by fetching us muck samples so we can check for worm burden before it causes any problems and advise on a worming plan.'




Newsletter September 2018

24 hour emergency service
017683 51819

Office opening hours

Monday-Friday       8am - 6pm
Saturday                  9am - 1pm
Sunday                10am - 11am

Crosscroft Industrial Estate Appleby-in-Westmorland CA16 6HX


September 2018 Edition

This month we welcome our new vet, Kay McDonald. Kay graduated from Liverpool University in 2018 with distinction. She’s moved to Appleby from Northumberland to start her career in farm animal practice. If you see her passing by please say hello.

BVD Stamp it out

You may have seen recently in the farming press that the government is putting £5.7 million into BVD control in England.

This money will be available for the next 3 years. BVD is estimated to cost the industry £60 million/year, and causes poor health in calves and infertility and abortion in adults. The aim is to dramatically reduce the prevalence of the disease by testing 50% of farms in England. Many other countries have eradicated BVD or are in the process of doing so, so that BVD eradication is very achievable!

Initially, £61.80 will be available for a ‘check test’ to see if BVD is circulating, all the costs of sampling will be covered as well. If BVD is found to be circulating, £440 is available to do a more detailed search to find any persistently infected cattle.

This funding is available to all cattle farmers, including those who are already BVD accredited or are tissue tagging. Even if you are vaccinating it would still be worthwhile making the most of this opportunity to test, to check that vaccination is working effectively.

We will be running meetings to discuss BVD and how to access this funding ­ currently we have 2 meetings planned:

Wednesday 26th September, 7pm Tuesday 6th November, 12:30pm

In order to access the funding farmers must attend one of the meetings and sign up prior to the meeting.

Both meetings are at Appleby Golf Club. Pie and peas will be provided!

Places are limited to 10 farms per meeting, although if there is a lot of interest we will arrange meetings for next year.

Tethera at Appleby show

Congratulations to Show Quiz winners!

Appleby show quiz was won by the Hewitt family, Bankhead. Dufton and Crosby show quiz was won by Jo Brown, Bow Hall. Thank you to everyone that entered.




Rams make up half of the flock, so it is important to make sure they are in optimal condition for tupping time! Using an unsound ram will decrease your lambing percentage and result in a protracted lambing period. It takes 7 weeks for a ram to produce sperm, so it’s important to check him over well in advance of the breeding season. Here are a few things to look out for…

Body condition ­ rams in the optimum BCS of 3­3.5 produce a significantly higher amount of testosterone than thinner or fatter tups.

Sperm production can be increased by 100% with good nutritional uptake prior to mating, although it’s important that the tup is fed a diet low in phosphate and magnesium to prevent a blocked bladder! Check teeth, feet and for other diseases which may decrease his BCS. The tups scrotal circumference should be more than 32cm ­ any less may be a sign of reduced fertility. The testes should be an even size, firm, freely mobile and with no lumps or bumps. We recommend semen testing the tups before they are put in with the ewes so that infertile or subfertile tups can be identified before it is too late



Clinical trial

We are participating in a clinical trial into foul in the foot in dairy cows. The aim of the study is to identify the different strains of the bacteria which cause the problem. Any dairy or beef farm can participate. The study requires a swab to be taken from an animal which has not been footbathed or had antibiotic treatment within the past 3 weeks. A swab and medium are provided and the sampling can be done by yourselves or a vet.

To take the sample, clean the foot with water only and then dry the space between the toes. The swab needs to be taken from the centre of the foul lesion and put in the fridge until it can be sent off.

Please let us know if you are interested in taking part in this study.


Newsletter July 2018

24 hour emergency service
017683 51819

Office opening hours

Monday-Friday       8am - 6pm
Saturday                  9am - 1pm
Sunday                10am - 11am

Crosscroft Industrial Estate Appleby-in-Westmorland CA16 6HX

July 2018 Edition

Summer is well and truly here!
Hopefully you have all had chance to make some 
good silage and hay.


There have been some significant changes to the Red Tractor Farm Assurance scheme recently. Please take time to read over the changes which we have outlined in this month’s newsletter and get in contact if you have any questions.

Farm assurance
As many of you are aware, new rules have come into place for the Red Tractor Farm Assurance. There are 2 main areas of change:

1. Dairy, beef and sheep farms- as you are hopefully already aware, the highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) must now only be used as a last resort, under veterinary HP-CIAs are defined as 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones (and colistin).

In practice the drug names that are affected are-

  • Marbox/ Marbocy
  • Naxcel/ Excenel
  • Cobactan
  • Cephaguard

The reason this has come into force is that HP-CIAs are used as a last resort for humans. There has been a lot of publicity in the press recently about antibiotic resistance, so it is important that we safeguard the future use of HP-CIAs in both human and animal medicine.

The use of any of the above drugs on a red tractor farm must now be supported by a vet report and diagnostic testing which demonstrates that the above drugs are the only viable option. This evidence must be produced at the farm inspection, and failure to provide this evidence will result in a non compliance.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about the rules, alternative treatments, or health plan requirements. Alternatively please ask any of our vets when we are out on farm.

2. Beef and sheep farms are now required to have a health plan (including antibiotic usage review) completed by their Please contact us at least a month before your visit is due as it takes time for us to collate antibiotic usage.

Bovella users
We have vouchers for up to £50 of BVD testing for you! Remember, when vaccinating for BVD it is important to do some on-going testing as no BVD vaccine is completely foolproof if a PI is present. Please ask us for further details and to discuss the best test for your herd.


Action Johnes!!
Several milk buyers (Arla, Omsco, Meadow Foods, Nestle) require a written Johnes action plan to be signed and implemented by 31st October 2018.

Every farm must now know their herd status, which involves testing a minimum of 30 cows once/year. Because Johnes testing needs to be done at least 60 days after the TB test, the next few months will be a good time to arrange testing. Once testing is completed, we can then provide a written plan. Please contact us if you would like any further information.

Come and join us for a brew and the craic at some of the local shows we attend . . .

Appleby Show Thu 9th August
Dufton Show Sat 25th August
Crosby Ravensworth Thu 30th August


Lambing 2019!
Yes, we’ve only just finished lambing 2018, but it’s not too early to start planning for next year. . .

Cidr ovis is a new product containing progesterone. Similar to sponges, it can be used to synchronise oestrus and ovulation, as well as advance the breeding season. The main advantage of Cidr Ovis is that it causes less
discharge and is easier to remove than sponges. The CIRD is left in place for 12 days, with an injection of eCG at removal. Oestrus occurs 1-2 days after this.

Did you have more than 5% abortions during lambing 2018? If so, the Flockcheck scheme is running again until 31st July. This is a free blood test for up to 8 ewes and will test for Enzootic and Toxoplasma abortion which are both preventable by vaccinating. Please get in contact if interested.

If anyone is interested in using Regulin implants to bring forwards next year’s lambing please let us know as soon as possible as implants will need to be inserted soon!
Regulin can advance lambing by up to 6 weeks.



Anyone wishing to pay by BACS our bank details are as follows:
Sort code: 30-67-67 a/c no. 13306668

Many thanks for all your prompt payments


Top tips for controlling Digital Dermatitis in cattle

Digital Dermatitis is a serious problem on many dairy herds, and an increasing number of beef herds. If a high proportion of the herd is affected it can have a severe impact on yields and fertility. It’s not easy, but it is definitely possible to keep it under control.

Digital Dermatitis

First – if you don’t have Digi on your farm – if you’ve never seen lesions like the one on the picture – keep it out! Don’t buy in cattle, and ensure that all foot trimming equipment is cleaned and disinfected before coming onto your farm.

Once it’s on your farm, it’s unlikely you’ll eliminate it, but you can control it. Think of it like controlling cell counts – you have to keep at it:

Hygiene is important – keep feet as clean as possible. Run automatic scrapers as frequently as possible, ensure ventilation and drainage is good, and keep any straw yards dry and well bedded.

Foot bathing is essential. What goes into the footbath is less important than how it’s done:

Ensure it’s deep enough to cover the hoof completely

Check the volume of the footbath, and calculate the correct concentration:

A 200 litre footbath will need 6 litres of formalin or 6kg of copper sulphate to make a 3% solution.

Around 200 cows is generally the most you should put through a footbath before changing it, though that depends on the size and how clean the feet are.

Frequency is the key to success – if there’s a lot of Digi about, you’ll have to footbath more frequently. Many farms footbath 5 days a week; farms with less of a problem may get away with twice a week.

Make it easy! Set up a system that becomes part of the normal routine.

Antibiotic footbaths are effective, but shouldn’t be used routinely. Digi can be kept under control by regular footbathing with formalin, copper sulphate, or other proprietary products (if using formalin, make sure you’re not breathing in the fumes when milking – it’s nasty stuff). If Digi is allowed to get out of control, an antibiotic footbath may be needed to get it back under control, before starting a regular programme of routine footbathing. Antibiotic footbaths are off-licence, and a potential risk for antibiotic resistance, so we should avoid using them where possible (they’re also expensive!).

If you’re seeing Digi amongst your cows, speak to a vet about the best way to get on top of it on your farm.


Lambing time records

Keeping some simple figures at lambing time can really help us to make improvements within your flock.

Even if the most basic tally chart was kept at lambing time it would give us something to work on.

Basic information to keep: Number of lambs born dead, number of lambs died after born alive, number of ewes died over lambing period, number of lambs marked, Number of lambs sold later in the year.

Relate these figures back to scanning results.

National average for losses between number lambs scanned and number sold is a much as 22% really we should be aiming for 10% loss or less.

The more details/ records kept the better chance we have of improving productivity. Beyond basic records would include: number stuck lambing, number of prolapses (pre and post) number of cases of watery mouth, scour, joint ill. Weight gains and a calculated DLWG of the growing lamb.

If you would like a recording sheet for basic and more detailed information please pick one up from the practice.