OAKHILL FARM SERVICES
Over 400 farms in Lancashire benefit from our veterinary services, maximising farm productivity and business potential.
Whether you have an animal needing urgent care or wish to discuss longer term farm management plans, you always have access to an experienced farm vet, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Our office is open from 8am to 5pm everyday, where our dedicated farm support team can deal with your enquiry and put you through to a vet if need be. At evenings, weekends and bank holidays, we ALWAYS have 2 farm vets on call 24/7– just phone the usual office number 01772 861300.
If it’s drugs you’d like to order, then we aim to deliver them to you within 48 hours. Alternatively you can collect them from our farm office, Kirkham surgery or Hillcrest (Chorley) at your convenience. We also have a secure lock box at our Goosnargh office, so you can collect drugs out of hours.
Good fertility management is a key component of successful dairy herd management. Improving herd fertility allows you to sell more milk per year and also reduces the number of cows being involuntarily culled for fertility problems.
The associated costs of poor fertility are highly significant and include:
- £3 per cow per day for every day over your target calving interval
- £710 of every cow culled for poor fertility
There are a huge number of factors that influence herd fertility ranging from herd nutrition, infectious disease control, lameness etc. However there are some ‘fertility specific’ areas we can also focus on to improve herd performance. These might include:
- Formulating a planned approach to breeding, particularly looking at setting a defined voluntary waiting period and getting cows served earlier post-calving.
- Starting a regular Routine Fertility Visit (weekly, fortnightly, monthly) where we carry out:
- Ultrasound Pregnancy Scanning
- Post-Calving checks to deal with cows with endometritis (‘whites’)
- Non-Cycling cow checks
Video shows Oakhill’s Andrew Bramall scanning cows at Pemberton’s Dairies.
We also recommend setting aside some time on a quarterly basis to study fertility performance. These visits allow us to look at what changes we can make to improve fertility and also to quantify any improvements we have made since the previous review. Setting simple targets such as the ‘Number of Cows In-Calf Per Month’ can really help everyone in the farm team focus on improving herd fertility.
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea
A complex disease that interferes with reproduction, reduces calf immunity to other infections, contributes to calf pneumonia and causes mucosal disease. It is estimated that more than 90% of UK herds have had exposure to Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus (BVDv). The main transmission route is by direct contact with cattle persistently infected with BVD virus. It needs only one persistently infected animal to be introduced into a susceptible herd to cause very significant financial losses.
Prevention is better than cure so we offer routine vaccinations against this disease, as well as blood testing and management plans. Oakhill’s Michael Murphy is a trained BVD Free advisor
A chronic, progressive wasting disease, caused by bacteria Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Affected animals lose condition and develop chronic scour. Infection of this costly and debilitating disease is becoming even more widespread in UK herds and preventative action is recommended.
80% of infections occur in the first month of life, from infected faeces, colostrum or milk being ingested and it can take several years before signs disappear.
We offer testing on both blood and milk samples. In order to control Johne’s on a farm, cows likely to be a risk to calves must be identified through regular testing. The National Johne’s Management Plan is a dairy industry initiative to reduce the incidence of Johne’s.
Four of our farm vets (Tracey, Mike, Andy and Sam) are BCVA Accredited Johne’s Advisors – please call the practice on 01772 861300 to discuss your farm’s Johne’s control plan.
Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis
Caused by a herpesvirus which results in acute upper respiratory tract disease which can lead to fatal pneumonia. Symptoms may also include abortion, genital disease or milk drop. Vaccination is key to stop the spread of the virus. Talk to your Oakhill vet today about a vaccination programme.
Main symptoms include abortion and birth of weak calves. It is also believed to cause fertility problems and reduced milk yield.
A disease caused by the protozoal parasite Neospora Caninum. The most common symptom is abortion, either as individual cases or as ‘abortion storms’. Cattle may become infected by the ingestion of oocysts shed by infected dogs (horizontal transmission) or through parasite migration during pregnancy to the foetus from persistently infected dams (vertical transmission). Cattle infected with the parasite are 3-7 times more likely to abort than uninfected cattle. Vertical transmission of the parasite is very efficient and infected animals may pass the parasite to their offspring over several generations and in successive pregnancies.
This disease is becoming an increasing problem across the region. It is important to ensure that your farm’s biosecurity is up to scratch and that we are able to test your cattle safely and properly on farm which will help in the prevention of further spread.
There are many more causes of disease on farm but please contact any of the vets if you are concerned about any of these diseases or feel there is more you could be doing to protect your herd.
Our in-house laboratory offers rapid testing for various conditions, meaning an appropriate treatment plan can be implemented quickly.
Healthy feet programme
An understanding of which types of lameness are present, coupled with a structured approach to tackle the underlying causes is required to tackle lameness effectively.
The AHDB Dairy Healthy Feet Programme is a structured approach which will help make important progress towards diagnosing the problems, devising an action plan, and develop the skills necessary for long-term lameness control. The approach is based around the ‘four success factors’ – Low infection pressure – Good horn quality and hoof shape – Low forces on the feet – Good cow comfort and cow flow – Early detection and prompt, effective treatment of lame cows
Foot trimming training days
We offer hoof trimming training days that cover the 5-step foot trimming technique, recognition, treatment and prevention of foot lesions in cattle. Watch out for announcements about our foot trimming courses.
In house culture and sensitivity testing
We now offer an in-house mastitis sample culture and sensitivity testing service, providing rapid results. Identification of the mastitis pathogen can help with targeted preventative approaches and sensitivity testing can aid correct antibiotic selection for effective treatment.
5-point control plan
The DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan is a proven, structured, evidence-based and wide-ranging approach to mastitis prevention and control in dairy cattle. The plan involves analysis of farm data, a farm visit and formulation of an action plan. After a year, the herds that have received the plan have shown up to a 22% reduction in cows affected with clinical mastitis compared with the control herds.
Decision making and Implementation of selective dry cow therapy protocols on farm
Not all cows require antibiotic dry cow therapy. It has been shown that intra-mammary antibiotic treatment at drying off may render cows more susceptible to new cases of mastitis in the subsequent lactation.
Please speak to one of our vets regarding selective dry cow therapy on your farm.
PROGRESSIVE DAIRY SERVICES
Approximately 20% of bulls are sub-fertile
A bull breeding soundness examination is advisable at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to breeding.
The examination consists of a full health check, examination of testicles and accessory sex glands plus evaluation of semen under a microscope, in our in-house lab.
Undetected sub-fertile or infertile bulls can drain profit!
Embryo transfer- repeat breeder embryos (‘cow stoppers’)
What is a Problem Breeder Cow?
Cows that have had three or more services at regular (21-24 day) intervals and that are still not in calf.
What treatments can we use to treat problem breeders?
Problem Breeder Embryos – implanting a beef cross embryo 7 days after service in problem repeat breeder cows improved pregnancy rates by over 20% according to a recent UK study.
How does implanting an embryo help?
By implanting a second embryo into the cows’ uterus the strength of the hormonal signals within the cow are doubled and so the likelihood of the cow reabsorbing the embryo(s) is reduced.
What cows would make good Embryo Transfer candidates?
- Cows should be cycling normally, showing regular heats every 21 – 24 days.
- Cows should be vet-checked to make sure there is no uterine damage and no ovarian problems such as cystic ovaries.
- Cows should be clean with no uterine discharge.
- Ideally cows should be in reasonable body condition and good health. Chronically lame or high SCC cows are not ideal candidates!
What is the procedure?
- Cow AI’d as normal. Arrange vet visit for 7 days later.
- Cow examined prior to implanting the embryo.
- We administer an epidural as this facilitates the procedure and should improve success rates.
- Embryo implanted and cow scanned 5 weeks later to check if successful.
Maximising success rates in embryo transfer
These are some suggestions when dealing with embryo recipients.
- Maiden heifers make the best recipients: they have higher conception rates.
- Cows can be used providing they have a good body condition score, and they are clean and cycling.
- Embryos can be put in to heifers that were bulling 6, 7 or 8 days previously. The highest conception rates are likely to be achieved 7 days after a heat.
- A good reference heat is vital to the success of the transfer.
- Reference heats can be a natural observed heat or synchronised induced heats.
- Included heats (i.e. Following a CIDR and prostaglandin programme) work equally well providing good heat detection is undertaken.
- A wrong or inaccurate heat observation will mean no pregnancy as these recipients are not synchronised with the donor cow.
- Avoid feeding changes to the recipient group for four to six weeks either side of transfers. Try to keep the diet consistent.
- Knowing the trace element history of your farm is important.
- Grass variation and grass silage variation can affect conception rates.
Nutrition Consultancy & DietCheck Rationing Software
We offer independent nutritional advice and consultancy service using the latest software from DietCheck to analyse and formulate rations for dairy, beef and youngstock.
Andy completed a post graduate certificate in Ruminant Nutrition in 2015 providing him with up to date knowledge of ration analysis, formulation and impacts on performance. This allows the practice to provide a bespoke holistic service to clients by being able to investigate at all aspects of nutrition, including ration formulation and performance limiting herd health factors. In particular diagnosis and prevention of common nutritional disease such as SARA, sub-clinical hypocalcaemia and sub-clinical ketosis.
We are now able to offer correction of LDA (left displaced abomasum/twisted stomach) using a laparoscopic or “keyhole” technique.
A camera is inserted into the abdomen to visualise the abomasum before a toggle is inserted under guidance and the abomasum fixed back into the correct position. The technique offers a number of advantage over the widely used right flank operation, in particular that only two small keyhole sized incision are made and there is a greatly reduced need for antibiotics post-operation. Combined, this reduces stress on the cow minimising recovery time.
The technique takes around the same amount of time to complete as the traditional operation.