Premises - Frame Swift and Partners, The Veterinary Centre, Penrith
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Frame, Swift and Partners
The Veterinary Centre, Carleton, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 8TZ
T: 01768 862454
F: 01768 867163
Delivering excellence in veterinary care throughout Cumbria
Farm Animal > Preventative Medicine
"Prevention is better than cure". It's a cliché everyone has heard but it is, nonetheless, very true. With any disease, whether it's an acute pneumonia outbreak in suckler calves or chronic lameness in a flock of hill ewes, there are always hidden (if not painfully obvious) costs. In many cases these diseases can be either prevented or their severity dramatically reduced. The costs of prevention are consistently smaller than the costs of disease.

Alpacca cooling off in the heat Farm herd Newly born Treatment nearing completion

Lameness - Lameness in either sheep or cattle is a problem every farmer will be familiar with to some degree. As well as being a significant welfare problem it is also a huge cause of lost production. While lameness can be treated on an individual basis, there is often a herd or flock problem creating disease. This can be either an infectious or managemental/housing problem. Addressing the  underlying cause will lead to both improved welfare and noticeable improvements in profitability.

Mastitis - Mastitis is a big cause of lost profit for dairy farms but is also significant in suckler herds and sheep flocks. Losses are from a combination of reduced yield, reduced milk price due to high cell counts, cost of treatments and having to cull persistently affected cows.

It is vital to identify the cause when there is a mastitis problem on your farm so that the problem can be classified as either environmental (e.g. from bedding) or infectious (spread from cow to cow at milking). This is generally done by milk sampling individual cows or from the bulk tank. Follow up visits are useful to assess the farm environment, milking machine and milking hygiene and procedure. Once the cause and reasons for it being present have been identified we can then give targeted cost-effective advice to tackle the problem.

Infectious Disease - There have been significant increases in infectious diseases on farms since restocking after Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001. Biosecurity might be a word that came into every day use during FMD but it remains just as important now, if not more so. On the cattle side tuberculosis (TB), Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), leptospirosis, Johne's Disease and Bluetongue are all infectious conditions that can be brought onto the farm when stock is brought in. With sheep, footrot, scab, wormer resistant parasites, Maedi Visna (MV) and Sheep Pulmonary Adenomatosis (SPA) are all risks. When buying in new stock there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risks of introducing these diseases onto your farm. Please contact the practice for more detailed advice.

Vaccinations - Vaccines are now a cornerstone of preventing disease in all farm species. They are available for pneumonia in calves and lambs, clostridial diseases in sheep, some forms of mastitis and footrot, leptospirosis and BVD, salmonella, ringworm and, of course, the dreaded Blue Tongue. We aren't necessarily suggesting that all animals are vaccinated against every disease possible - it's another situation where the program needs to be designed to fit each farm, usually on the basis of current testing for disease on the farm and previous history of disease.

Pneumonia - Calf pneumonia is one of the costliest diseases that we see. Even if calves don't die from it the loss of live weight gain and permanent lung damage resulting in lower finishing condition can result in huge "hidden" costs. There are many pneumonia vaccines available depending on which viruses/bacteria are causing the problem (often more than one). The other key factor in controlling pneumonia is housing design and stocking density. We are keen to offer advice on how buildings can be adjusted to maximise ventilation. When investing in new buildings we are always very pleased to work with you on your design to develop a building with as low a risk for disease as possible. Using appropriate vaccinations and improving airflow within the building will usually lead to reduction in disease. As vaccination and building changes take time to both do and take effect, it is summer that is the time to start planning for preventing the winter pneumonia outbreak!

Alpacas/Llamas/Camelids - We were one of the first practices in the country to treat alpacas with early imports into Cumbria. There are increasing numbers of alpacas and llamas in our area being kept as both pets and commercial animals. We offer a full range of veterinary care for camelids ranging from routine individual pregnancy diagnosis to herd management.