Friday, 1 December 2017 - 4:50pm

Selenium, Iodine & Cobalt


Although the classic presentation of deficiency is white muscle disease, with lambs becoming stiff legged, it can also be a cause of weak lambs, high lamb mortality, and poor fertility in ewes.  Blood samples can give a good indication of selenium status over the past 2 months.  The diagram below shows the role of selenium and vitamin E in binding free radicals.


Friday, 17 November 2017 - 11:59am

St Boniface Vets are planning a 2 day course in cattle foot trimming, suitable for complete beginners or those wanting a detailed refresher. 

The course will run from 10.30am to 3pm on 23rd & 24th January, here at the surgery in Crediton, with lunch provided.

Places are limited, to ensure a high quality personal delivery, so please let us know if you are interested to avoid disappointment. 

We will also be offering a unique one-to-one follow up session, on your farm...

Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 1:37pm

“Sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK have fallen to their lowest level since records began, exceeding a government target to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance (AMR) two years early”

This is a statement from Defra that has rightfully been spread far and wide in farming press, though probably not far enough in the general media! UK farming industries have really taken the reduction of antibiotics seriously and are pulling more than their weight in the...

Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 12:52pm

One of the more frustrating problems faced by anyone caring for dairy cows is the ‘downer cow’.  Defined most simply as a cow that remains recumbent for more than 24 hours; often very bright and alert with a good appetite, they seem very content!  Often these cows do not walk off the farm, which is a demoralising result and costly too, with the difference between a cull value and fallen stock bill several hundred pounds, and for a very good cull over £1000.

Are we doing enough...

Friday, 20 October 2017 - 6:08pm

Here is an easy to accomplish example of monitoring.

5cm increments are drawn on the race, the heifers are measured against it and their withers height recorded.

These heifers are 12 months old. A Holstein heifer should have a withers height of 124cm by this time.

If heifers are not achieving good enough growth rates, and we discover this early enough, feeding can be altered so that service can still be achieved by 13-15 months of age.


Thursday, 21 September 2017 - 11:29am

£300 million annually - This is the estimated cost of liver fluke to the UK agricultural industry.

Liver fluke can result in:

  • Reduced weight gain
  • Reduced milk production
  • Decreased feed conversion ratio
  • Reduced fertility
  • Young stock fail to thrive
  • Death of animals
  • Poor welfare

Cattle are more commonly affected by the chronic form of this disease. Whereas acute disease results from mass...

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 - 4:09pm

As you may already know, MilkSure is an industry initiative, aimed at reducing the number of bulk tank failures and demonstrating the responsible use of antibiotics within the dairy industry.

It takes the form of training 2 training sessions, delivered by our farm vets.  

  • The first section is based around the use of antibiotics, withdrawal periods (including for cascade use) and causes of bulk tank failures.
  • The second...
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 - 1:59pm

Ruth recently attended a really interesting talk and farm walk with New Zealand vet, Neil Chesterton, organised by AHDB Dairy.  A couple of clients attended too, but thought we could use this newsletter to pass on some key points.

Neil Chesterton is recognised as one of the experts on lameness, particularly in pasture based systems, and his advice is relevant to any system where cows graze at least part of the time. The main causes of lameness they see are white line...

Friday, 25 August 2017 - 11:41am

As part of our pre tuppling series, we focus on teaser rams.

Vasectomised rams (which are therefore infertile but produce testosterone) can be used to synchronise ewes and to encourage ewes early in their breeding season to cycle. Surgery needs to be conducted at least 6 weeks before the teaser ram goes in with the ewes.

Please contact the surgery for further information 01363 772860.

Friday, 25 August 2017 - 11:35am

As part of our pre tupping guidelines, we discuss the benefits of semen testing.

We can check the semen quality of rams by examining a sample under the microscope – this should be done on any ram with questionable findings at a physical examination and for newly purchased rams, or rams intended for sale.

Contact the surgery if you are interested in this service for your rams - 01363 772860.  

In the meantime, please click on the link for further information on our...