As we race into the New Year, scour vac­cines can be a very ef­fec­tive choice

Paul Red­mond, MVB, MRCVS, Cert DHH, Dun­ta­hane Vet­eri­nary Clinic, Fer­moy, mem­ber prac­tice of Prime Health Vets

Irish Examiner - Farming - - DAIRY SECTOR -

Last Sun­day, as I was head­ing out to the point-to-point races for a day, as one of the vet­eri­nary sur­geons on duty, the weather was rather in­clement.

I never saw such rain fall­ing, and I was filled with trep­i­da­tion as to what might lie be­fore me.

The race­course was in sur­pris­ingly good order, and I re­marked on this to the owner of the land, when I bumped into him dur­ing the course of the day.

He was de­lighted to in­form me of the spe­cial va­ri­ety of grass that he had in­tro­duced to his land.

He told me that it was a New Zealand species that pro­duced a great sod, and there­fore was ideal for the job in hand.

In be­tween races, I took the op­por­tu­nity to chat to a lot of clients and other ac­quain­tances, some of whom I am sure just kept chat­ting be­cause of the um­brella that I was hold­ing over us.

One of these was a lad who told me that he had all his cows dry and was go­ing to en­joy the time off to relax as best he could.

He told me that, in re­cent years, he had started run­ning, and found it to be a great way to un­wind and for­get about the nor­mal hum­drum of life. As he talked, he got quite an­i­mated about his run­ning, and I quite en­joyed chat­ting to him.

The day bright­ened con­sid­er­ably af­ter the first few races ,and to­wards the end, the sun, low in the sky, was caus­ing prob­lems for the jock­eys, and a few of the fences had to be ex­cluded from pro­ceed­ings for health and safety rea­sons. With the last race com­pleted, I headed for the exit, but had to be pulled through the quag­mire by an­other of my clients on his trac­tor, to whom I am eter­nally grate­ful. It was great to see fel­las re­laxed at the end of a long and some­times ar­du­ous year. The weather came to us in 2018 in a way that we never ex­pected, with never-end­ing rain in the spring fol­lowed by an ex­cep­tion­ally long dry spell, that tried the best of farm­ers, but by and large most ended up the year happy enough with their lot. So what of the com­ing year? What do you think we can ex­pect?

No one knows, but there are cer­tain things that can be done on the farm in the mean­time to help make life a small bit easier in 2019. Def­i­nitely, those who have had prob­lems with Ro­tavirus in the past, or pos­si­bly Coron­avirus or E Coli scour, should be vac­ci­nat­ing their cows and in-calf heifers pretty soon for these dis­eases.

There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent vac­cines avail­able for this job, but you must give them in plenty of time to build up the re­quired im­mu­nity be­fore the calv­ing date. Talk to your vet to find out which vac­cine might suit your par­tic­u­lar farm setup. There is no doubt that these vac­cines are very ef­fec­tive in curb­ing the heartache and dam­age caused by these in­fec­tions.

For these vac­cines to work prop­erly, the man­u­fac­tur­ers rec­om­mend feed­ing colostrum and tran­si­tion milk to calves for the first three weeks of life.

This flies in the face of all the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Johnes Dis­ease pro­gramme, so you re­ally have to talk to your vet about any is­sues you might have there. Pas­teuri­sa­tion of this tran­si­tion milk may be one op­tion, but then, there is the cost of get­ting one of these pas­teuris­ers, and also the labour of us­ing it.

But “you gotta do what you gotta do”, or so they say. I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christ­mas and a suc­cess­ful 2019.

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