Friday, 6 July 2018 - 5:48pm

Tony Kemmish, St Boniface Veterinary Clinic

As reported in the last issue of Livestock Matters, St Boniface vet Tony Kemmish has won the award for Dairy Vet of the year in the 2018 CREAM Awards. Here, he outlines his GROW philosophy for working with dairy clients, and how for Devon farmer Richard Daw this has underpinned the continuous improvement in his herd’s health, performance and profitability.


Dairy farming clients of St Boniface Veterinary...

Wednesday, 6 June 2018 - 1:44pm

At St. Boniface Vets, many of our dairy herds are Autumn block calving and will shortly be considering their selective dry cow management. Therefore, we thought we’d share a few reminders as to why a selective approach is the best approach:

  • There is no sense in giving antibiotic dry cow therapy to an uninfected cow
  • In fact, if you do give antibiotics to low somatic cell count cows, their risk of coliform mastitis in the next lactation actually increases
  • Of 52 UK...
Monday, 4 June 2018 - 12:43pm


ANTIBIOTIC use within farming continues to be a topic with a lot of public and industry interest.

This has mainly been focussed on the use of antibiotics that have been classed as critically important due to their vital role in human medicine.

Meaning these are the only remaining treatments for critical human problems like severe infections in children.

Their use should be therefore limited to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance developing to these...

Friday, 11 May 2018 - 1:59pm

We have a rare and exciting opportunity for the right candidate to join our friendly team as a Farm Coordinator at our modern, well equipped practice in Crediton.

The chosen candidate will be an experienced administrator with proven communication and organisational skills. The Farm Coordinator will be able to take on responsibility, show initiative and pay close attention to detail while being able to work under pressure. They will also have a strong work ethic, with a drive to...

Saturday, 28 April 2018 - 4:18pm

Devon County Show marks the start of the show season in the South West and St Boniface Veterinary Clinic are looking forward to being honorary vets for the 4th year.

Tony Kemmish BSc BVMS GPcert(DCP) MRCVS Practice Principal says: "We are proud to be continuing the Wolfgar tradition, by providing veterinary surgeons to treat the magnificent livestock"

St Boniface Vets have been there, for the farming community in Devon for more than six decades. Since 2001 St Boniface Vets has...

Monday, 26 March 2018 - 3:56pm

EFFICIENT milk production is the economic driver in the dairy herd and the primary aim is to optimise milk production per cow per year.

Most dairy cows will drop in production by 0.3% per day after peak production. The birth of a calf is essential for the onset of lactation and evidence shows the better the calving interval is, the more milk the cow will produce.

The transition period (three weeks before to three weeks after calving), although short, is when most metabolic and...

Thursday, 8 March 2018 - 3:30pm

There is a national commitment from the sheep industry to reduce the amount of lame sheep to 2% of the national flock.  As it was estimated that 10% of sheep were lame when this was announced  this seemed ambitious.  However, the flocks that have tackled lameness in the ways described have found the number of lame sheep in their flock reduced to 2% quite easily, compared to 95% of those treated with injectable antibiotics alone.

The first task is to identify the cause of lameness, ...

Thursday, 8 March 2018 - 3:28pm

These are now regarded as different stages of the same disease, both caused by Dichelobacter nodosus.

It is the most common cause of lameness on a majority of farms.


Do not trim - only 5-10% of trimmed feet cured, compared to 95% of those treated with injectable antibiotics (trimming as well as injection halved the number that recovered). Therefore, aim to catch and inspect all lame sheep within 3 days, treat Footrot/scald with injectable oxytetracycline...

Thursday, 8 March 2018 - 3:26pm

Spirochaetes seem to be a necessary cause for CODD, like in digital dermatitis in cattle; but we also find the footrot bacteria  - dichelobacter nodosus and fusobacterium necrophorum in more than half of CODD lesions.  Studies suggest there is an important link between the two.

We don’t know if/how much disease passes between species but bought in sheep are the main risk for introducing it to a flock.

Appearance – disease starts at the coronary band, forming an...

Thursday, 8 March 2018 - 3:24pm

These are the non-infectious causes of lameness, normally Shelley hoof or white line abscesses.

The connection between wall and sole is elastic, but is the weak point in the foot. 

Shelley hoof, which is a separation of wall and sole, is common but is not usually associated with lameness, although can cause a problem if mud becomes impacted.

In this case, trim the loose horn out in a semi circle to prevent leaving a space for the mud. If pus forms at the white line the...