At the end of March, James, Rob and Zoe attended the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Conference on the Gold Coast. The conference is an opportunity to see latest and topical lectures, catch up with old colleagues and meet new ones too.
So, what interesting things were there to bring home to our farmers?
Digital dermatitis in the UK
The keynote speaker, Owen Atkinson is a vet from the UK. He had some interesting comments on the appearance and treatment of digital dermatitis infections of the hoof horn and bones of cattle. Digital dermatitis is normally an infectious lesion of the tissue between the claws of the hoof, caused by the bacteria Treponema (aka hairy heel wart). In the lesions that Owen described, the bacteria travels from the soft tissue at the top of the hoof down the hoof wall, infecting the tissue and bone underneath.
We don’t see a lot of digital dermatitis in our herds. Below are a few pictures of what it looks like – if you notice anything like this in your herd give us a call for a chat about next steps.
Worms and refugia
Veterinarian Steph Bullen discussed worms and drench resistance. To quote: “Once you have got drench resistance it doesn’t go away”. Steph talked about the importance of “refugia”: this is a sub-population of worms/larvae that have NOT been exposed to a drench. It includes those on pasture, those in untreated animals and inhibited larvae within the animal. It is important to maintain some refugia on a farm to dilute out any drench-resistant worms and slow the development of drench resistance. For example:
- Move animals to a clean pasture with no or few larvae THEN drench
- Only treat those animals more likely affected by worms (targeted treatment)
- Avoid drenching in prolonged hot/dry periods, when all larvae on pasture will have been fried
Injectable or oral drenches are preferred over pour-ons – as their dosage is more reliable. Combination drenches (with 2 or 3 ingredients targeting the same worms) will slow resistance development. It is also important to double check the accuracy of drenching guns and drench to the heaviest animal in the group.