SAC Consulting will be holding a meeting focussing on sheep flocks to inform producers of the latest developments and issues for the year ahead. It is on Tuesday 19th January at the Thainstone Centre at 7.30pm. Topics will include management tips at lambing, nutrition, business and grassland management, biodiversity and greening rules. Please contact SAC Consulting Thainstone office on 01467 625385 if you wish to attend this free meeting. 

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At this time of year store lambs should be at least maintaining condition, though with the recent very wet weather they may have had a set back. However if they are failing to thrive it is worth investigating the reasons as to why. It could be a combination of factors that are involved such as liver fluke, worms, trace element deficiencies or inadequate nutrition.

For example in a batch of bought-in store lambs that we investigated last month there was a high worm egg count in the group, despite the lambs having been wormed about three weeks before, and there were also cobalt and selenium deficiencies. The high worm egg counts could have been due to either re-infection on heavily contaminated pasture or due to resistance to the wormer that was used. The lambs were not heavily stocked, had plenty of grass and at this time of year they shouldn’t be picking up high levels of worm challenge. It is therefore likely that the roundworms had resistance to the white drench used, which is a common occurrence in flocks across the country. The lambs have now been dosed with another class of wormer and are going to be dosed monthly with a cobalt-selenium drench.

If you are concerned about the effectiveness of the wormers that you are using in your flock it can be checked through doing worm egg counts 7 or 14 days after treatment (depending on the wormer used). Speak to one of the farm animal vets if you are concerned about the growth rates in your store lambs.

In the last few weeks we were involved with another flock which had lost over 30 bought-in store lambs, most of which were sudden deaths. In this case the lambs were thriving but on-farm post-mortem examinations found that the losses were due to pulpy kidney. This is one of the most common causes of deaths in growing lambs and it is often the better lambs that die suddenly. A vaccination course e.g. two doses of Ovivac P Plus given 4-6 weeks apart provides protection to lambs against pulpy kidney. It also gives cover against Pasteurella infections which are another common killer of lambs. 

 

Catriona Ritchie   BVMS MSc MRCVS Buchan Vets Large Animal Team

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Happy New Year to all of our clients!

Following the great turnouts at our recent evening meetings and the good feedback received we will be holding further beef and sheep health evening meetings. We will also be holding a meeting for our dairy clients soon. 

Our next evening meeting will be on “Lambing and Lamb Health” on Thursday 11th February at 7.30pm. Further details to follow. 

Our next cattle meeting will be “Calving and Calf Health” on Thursday 25th February at 7.30pm. More details to follow. 

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Whilst oral antibiotics have a role in the treatment of watery mouth, and its prevention during an outbreak, the blanket use of antibiotics in livestock is coming under increasing scrutiny due to concerns over antibiotic resistance reducing the effectiveness of antibiotic use in the human population. It is not just the human population that needs to be considered though as there is evidence of resistance to some antibiotics on some farms so animal treatments can also be less effective and antibiotic choice becomes more limited on these holdings. In the coming years there could be more regulations introduced over the use of antibiotics on farm and we may even find some are withdrawn from animal use. We therefore need to do what we can to preserve our ability to use antibiotics by ensuring that antibiotics are being used as responsibly as possible. 

 

Lambs and calves are born with a sterile gut and the normal gut flora establishes soon after birth. A good intake of colostrum as soon as possible after birth, but especially within the first six hours, plus clean, well bedded pens will help ensure that healthy bacteria colonise the gut which makes it harder for disease-causing bacteria to invade. If antibiotics are given it could interfere with the healthy bacterial flora. One way to encourage a healthy gut population is to use a probiotic. There is an oral doser to help kick start newborn lambs called Provita Lamb Response which contains probiotic bacteria plus egg powder as a protein source and also vitamins. A supply of vitamins, especially B vitamins, is beneficial to lambs before their rumen starts to function. As well as being useful as a routine supplement at birth the doser is also beneficial for lambs that are recovering from scour. 

 

If you use an oral antibiotic doser at birth to prevent watery mouth and are reluctant to stop then you could consider using it on a risk basis. Strong, single lambs born to ewes with plenty of colostrum would be at low risk so shouldn’t need antibiotics if they are born into a clean, well bedded pen. They could just be given a probiotic doser whereas triplets will get less colostrum each so would be considered to be at higher risk. 

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As there has been interest in us running a practical lambing course we will be doing so in early February. We hope to be using a lambing simulator so we will keep the workshop to a maximum of eight participants. If we have more than eight people who are interested in attending, then we will hold a second one. There will be practice in dealing with difficult lambings and we will be covering routine procedures at lambing time. We will also be discussing and demonstrating techniques on how to deal with poorly young lambs and how to keep them healthy. The cost of the course will be £50 + VAT per person and lunch will be provided.  Please contact the surgery on 01771 637219 if you are interested in attending the course and we will get back to you once the date has been arranged. 

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It can be a worrying time when your pet is diagnosed with Diabetes.  The vet will work with you to bring the condition under control but then we have found that many owners feel they would benefit from further help in long term management of the condition. 

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We are delighted to offer a new support service for our diabetic patients and their owners.  Diabetes Mellitus is a surprisingly common disease in both cats and dogs.

Therapy includes daily insulin treatment and monitoring, some diet and lifestyle changes and regular check-ups to look for possible urine infections and changes in weight, as well as proactive disease management.

To be told that you need to inject your pet once or twice daily can be a little daunting, but with our support we know that many pet owners soon feel at ease with the new routine of regular injecting. Our Diabetes Clinics offer guidance and support both for owners beginning their journey with a diabetic pet, as well as those we are old hands at it!

What happens at the clinic?

At the free clinic, which is bookable throughout the day, our qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse, Louise Leonard, will assess your pet’s weight, treatment, routine, lifestyle, diet and medicine handling. Any concerns can be discussed and a personalised plan is then made. You will usually see the same person, as Louise is the Diabetic Clinic Senior Advisor, so your pet’s individual circumstances can be fully taken into account.

We’ve found that many of the hiccups in treating diabetic pets can be prevented both by regular monitoring and excellent communication between pet owners and the veterinary team. Having someone who knows and understands you, your pet and your home circumstances gives you peace of mind and reassurance that you are doing the right thing for your pet.  From the positive feedback from clients we know Diabetic Clinics have been a really positive addition to our range of Nursing Clinics.

To make an appointment for the Diabetic Clinics with Louise please call

Peterhead 01779 472 460 or Fraserburgh 01346 510 000

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