Timely Reminders & Handy Hints for November

  • Pink eye in calves - we are coming up to the Pink Eye season in calves.  A single dose of Piliguard vaccine given 3-6 weeks before the risk period will significantly reduce the risk of an outbreak.
  • Covexin 10 - if you have unexplained deaths in young stock every year despite using 5 in 1 vaccine, you should consider using Covexin 10 in 1 vaccinate, which provides additional protection against two other major clostridial diseases - Clostridium sordelli and Clostridium perfringens type A.
  • Last year we saw a case of several acute deaths in calves which had been worm drenched through the milk.  This is a very timely reminder, not to add worm drench, especially levamisole or abamectin, to milk.  Each season we see 2-3 cases of either levamisole toxicity or abamectin toxicity in calves under 100kg.
  • Poa aquatic (also known as Glyceria maxima) is a grass that proliferates in wet areas of paddocks and drains.  Under the right environmental conditions it can accumulate cyanide - which can be fatal if ingested.  Sudden death in a wet paddock could be potentially due to cyanide.  If you have suspicions contact your vet for identification of the grass.
  • Polioencephalomalacia (P.E.) - this nervous condition of calves is now the most common disease of calves that we see over the summer months.  Polioencephalomalacia (PE or CCN) is considered to be associated with a change of diet from a fibrous stalky diet to a lush, rapidly growing grass diet.  High sulphur intakes have also been incriminated.  P.E. is a vitamin B1 deficiency.  Clinically, calves with P.E. show nervous signs.  They may appear blind, staggery and develop muscle tremors, before becoming recumbent, with severe convulsions and die.  We traditionally see P.E. cases from late November, peaking late Dec/early Jan.

Individual calves, if treated early enough with injectable Vitamin B1, respond well and make a full recovery.  In the face of an 'outbreak', it is well worth considering the prophylactic use of an oral drench of Vitamin B1, for the entire mob of calves.