BHC Newsletter Summer FINAL

SUMMER EDITION

ANIMAL HEALTH IRELAND Contributing to a profitable and sustainable farming and agri-food sector through improved animal health

BEEF HEALTH CHECK NEWSLETTER

FEATURE ARTICLES

REBECCA CARROLL DAVID A KENNY

P2

P5

JAMES O’SHAUGHNESSY DONAL TOOLAN PATRICK CLUNE P9

P7

P11

NATIONAL BEEF HEALTH PROGRAMME

Beef HealthCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie

Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27

BEEF HEALTHCHECK PROGRAMME UPDATE

400,000 ANIMALS THROUGH BEEF HEALTHCHECK PROGRAMME

Rebecca Carroll, Programme Manager

T he ICBF database has received results on approximately 400,000 animals through the Beef HealthCheck programme over the course of the first 5 months of 2017. A wealth of information on health conditions in slaughtered cattle is accumulating and some of the results to date can been seen in the graphs below. The information is also available for use at herd level by farmers and their veterinary practitioners. Farmers are receiving reports from factories detailing the results for each batch of animals submitted. Herd level information for all batches is also available for farmers and their veterinary practitioners on the ICBF website. Farmers can log into the ICBF website and view the information for free. Farmers without log in details for the ICBF website can contact ICBF to register. Click here for a step by step guide. Nationally, the Beef HealthCheck programme showed that liver fluke were found in 3-4% of cattle presented for slaughter and an additional 15-20% of cattle had livers with damage related to fluke but without liver fluke being observed. Liver abscesses were found in 3.5-5% of cattle and pneumonia lesions were present in 3-5% of cattle. There was a slight increase in the prevalence of pneumonia lesions toward the end of the housing period in the spring.

Figure1. Beef HealthCheck Results 2017

PAGE 2

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

BEEF HEALTHCHECK PROGRAMME UPDATE

When liver fluke results are analysed on a county basis, it is apparent that there are marked differences between cattle sent to slaughter from the wetter counties in the west and northwest of the country and the drier counties in the east. Liver fluke were observed in more than 16% of livers in Donegal and Leitrim and more than half of livers from Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo were damaged by liver fluke. It is important to note that much of the period covered by these graphs are times when animals are housed and therefore the observation of the liver fluke parasite may suggest problems with dosing for fluke at or during the housing period. This is a topic we will return to later in the year.

Figure 2. Beef HealthCheck County Liver fluke Results 2017 (to week 21)

When the Beef HealthCheck data are analysed by finishing cattle carcass type, live fluke and evidence of pneumonia were detected slightly more often in young bulls, while liver abscesses were most common in steers.

Figure 3. Beef HealthCheck Carcass Type Results 2017 (to week 21)

PAGE 3

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

BEEF HEALTHCHECK PROGRAMME UPDATE

DAFM KT GROUP APPROVED NATIONAL EVENT* Location Time Date David & Peter Killen Labadish, Manorcunningham, Co. Donegal Eircode: F92KW21 In conjunction with Foyle Food Group 11 am 7 th July 2017

John Pringle Aughrim, Co. Wicklow Eircode: Y14PT99 In conjunction with Slaney Foods

11 am

11 th July 2017

Animal Health Ireland, Teagasc and Meat Industry Ireland are busy preparing for events for beef farmers in June and July. The events will cover a range of animal health topics under the theme of ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. Click here for information on the dates, times, venues and topics to be discussed. Come to your local event and hear about the strategies and tools you can use to have healthier and more profitable cattle on your farm.

A scientific paper discussing the use of abattoir data to identify disease prevalence in animal populations, written by Rebecca Carroll, Beef HealthCheck ProgrammeManager and co-authors David Graham (DCEO, AHI), Andy Forbes (Former Chairperson of the AHI Parasite Control TWG) and Locksley Messam (Veterinary Epidemiologist, UCD) has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Preventive Veterinary Medicine. A link to the article is available online on the Animal Health Ireland website Click here .

PAGE 4

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE

THE IMPACT OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE ON THE FERTILITY OF SUCKLER HERDS

Prof. David A Kenny, Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Co. Meath

W ith the breeding season well underway in most Irish suckler cow herds, fertility is one of the principal factors determining output and ultimately the profitability of suckler enterprises. In the spring edition of this newsletter I summarised the current fertility performance of Irish suckler herds, according to annual statistics from the Irish Cattle BreedingFederation, aswell as somegeneral herdmanagement principles, to underpin good reproductive performance. While clear guidelines on herd nutritional management, in particular, have been established, the issue of herd health and specifically the role of infectious diseases in determining herd fertility has received increasing prominence in recent years. Although numerous bacterial, viral and protozoan pathogens have been associated with, and sometimes cited as the cause of, poor reproductive performance in cattle, including abortion and the birth of weak or unviable calves, there is little published information actually quantifying the contribution, if any, of these pathogens, to suckler herd fertility. ‘BeefCow’ project Inorder toaddress this deficit inknowledge, a largeDepartment of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) funded all-Ireland beef cow fertility research programme, led by Teagasc Grange, was developed to examine a range of factors affecting the fertility of beef heifers and cows. As part of this project almost 6,000 cows from 161 spring calving suckler cow herds across the island of Ireland (all 32 counties) were blood sampled during the breeding season of 2014 and 2015 to measure herd exposure to bovine herpes virus (BoHV-1; causative agent for IBR), bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), leptospirosis and neosporosis. A comprehensive survey was also carried out to determine the vaccination policy undertaken on each herd enrolled on the project. Preliminary findings Results to-date from the study indicate that, at a herd level, seroprevalence (proportion of herds with at least one cowwith antibodies as a result of being exposed to the agent causing the disease) of BoHV-1, BVDV, leptospirosis and neosporosis was

90%, 100%, 91%and67%, respectively,while theaveragewithin herd exposure to these pathogens for the participating (non- vaccinating) herds was 40%, 78%, 66% and 6%, respectively. The evidence of high levels of exposure to BVDV at both cow- and herd-level is consistent with the widespread nature of this virus prior to the introduction of the national eradication programme. Data from Animal Health Ireland, showing that in 2017 only 1.05% of suckler herds have had a positive or inconclusive test result for virus (as opposed to antibody) and that 82% of suckler herds have now achieved negative herd status (NHS; known negative status for all animals in the herd), highlight the progress that has been made.

...farmers with larger herds, in particular, need to be aware that they must maintain robust biosecurity measures to avoid the introduction of pathogens to their herds...

Our findings support those of several previous studies which have indicated that as herd size increases so too does the likelihood of exposure to pathogens. Consequently farmers with larger herds, in particular, need to be aware that theymust maintain robust biosecuritymeasures to avoid the introduction of pathogens to their herds, to establish the herd health status and to determine what mitigation measures are required to address any diseases present. Interestingly, the work has also shown that exposure to some pathogens increases the risk of further exposure to other pathogens.

PAGE 5

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

THE IMPACT OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE ON THE FERTILITY OF SUCKLER HERDS

When the productive performance of the cows in participating herds was examined, we found no evidence for any effect of prior exposure to any of the aforementioned pathogens on either calving interval or neonatal calf mortality during the subsequent calving season. We are currently examining implications, if any, for other traits such as cow survival rate and pre- and post-weaning calf performance. Future work will also examine aspects of the genetic basis of susceptibility to these diseases.

Finally, our results also suggest that, while still relatively low, vaccination is used to a greater extent by Irish farmers than other biosecurity measures or diagnostic testing. While vaccines play a hugely important role in the control of many infectious diseases, over-reliance on vaccination without the backup of diagnostics and other biosecurity measures, including management practices, should be avoided. It is important that farmers consult with their vet in order to implement a holistic herd health programme to best protect their herd.

PAGE 6

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE

CONTROLLING WORMS IN BOTH DAIRY TO BEEF AND SUCKLER CALVES AT PASTURE

James O’Shaughnessy, Research Officer, DAFM, Backweston and Chairman, AHI Parasite Technical Working Group

A s the title of this article suggests, we seek to control and not prevent the exposure of calves to worms in grass- based systems. Nonetheless, the challenge is to ensure that performance (live weight gain) is not compromised and that the incidence of clinical disease (scouring, coughing) is minimised. The main worms of concern are gut worms (stomachand intestinal), lungworm, liver flukeand rumenfluke. When should calves be monitored for gut worms? For dairy to beef calves, two months after turnout is a good time to monitor for exposure to gut worms. This also helps to assess the risk of disease and/or poor performance for the rest of the season. Ideally, calves should be weighed as well as collecting dung samples from 10 – 15 calves in the group. As a guide, if faecal egg counts (FEC) exceed 200 eggs per gram of faeces and daily live weight gains (DLWGs) are less than 0.6 to 0.75 kg/day, performance may be impacted and treatment may be necessary. It is important that advice is sought from a veterinary practitioner as poor weight gains can be due to factors other than parasitism. In addition to monitoring, a useful aid is to move calves onto silage aftergrass. Previously, the advice was to treat all calves with a wormer prior to moving. However, as this practice strongly selects for anthelmintic resistant worms, the advice nowadays is to only treat some of the group, for example those with low DLWG or high FEC. If aftergrass is not available, calves should be further monitored two months later. If worm challenge is high, monitoring should be performed earlier than this. In contrast, spring-born suckler calves need closemonitoring around weaning time as disease is most likely to occur then. If weaning occurs at grass, a wormer with a persistent action can be used to protect calves until housing. Autumn-born suckler calves are an entirely different entity. As many of these will go to grass in spring weaned from their mothers, they should be managed similarly to weaned dairy to beef calves.

What about lungworm? Although disease (hoose) due to lungworm often occurs in the second half of the grazing season for dairy to beef calves or around weaning for suckler calves, this is not always the case. As a result, farmers need to closely observe their calves at pasture. Often the first sign of hoose in a group of calves is intermittent coughing after moving them from one paddock into another. As the disease progresses, coughing will become more severe and more widespread in the group. However, early clinical signs are easily missed and sometimes animals are found dead without any illness having been noted. Any cases of unexpected or unexplained death should be sent for post mortem examination to get an accurate diagnosis. A number of measures can be used to control lungworm challenge. Ideally, calves should be turned out as one group onto pasture that was not grazed by cattle the previous year. As such pasture is often not available, calves should be turned out onto a different pasture each year. A number of measures can be used to control lungworm challenge. Ideally, calves should be turned out as one group onto pasture that was not grazed by cattle the previous year. As suchpasture is often not available, calves shouldbe turned out onto a different pasture each year. Other measures include strategic early season worming programmes (which can control both gut and lungworms) and vaccination. However, vaccination is more suited to autumn-born calves unless turnout in spring-born calves can be delayed.

PAGE 7

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

CONTROLLING WORMS IN BOTH DAIRY TO BEEF AND SUCKLER CALVES AT PASTURE

Dealing with liver and rumen fluke It is important to recognise that the lifecycles of these two flukes differ markedly from those of the gut worms and therefore need to be managed differently. For example, if dairy to beef calves are exposed to infective liver fluke stages shortly after turnout, it takes 12-14 weeks before fluke eggs may be found in their faeces. Thus, when dairy to beef calves are being monitored for gut worms 8 weeks after turnout and significant liver fluke infection is suspected, liver fluke infection may be diagnosed by testing faeces for coproantigen or blood for raised liver enzymes. Autumn- born suckler calves going to grass the following spring can be sampled at a similar time whereas their spring-born counterparts should, if suspicions of significant burdens exist, be sampled around weaning. Faecal samples should also be tested for rumen fluke larvae, particularly if scouring exists. If rumen fluke is diagnosed as the cause of scouring, treatment is indicated, whereas the mere presence of rumen fluke eggs in faeces of calves that are thriving well may not warrant treatment. Indeed, it is important to highlight that in any case of scouring/ill thrift (Figure 1), other potential causes such as coccidia or trace element deficiencies should be ruled out. Common to the control of both flukes is the need to fence off or drain wet areas of fields as these are a suitable habitat for the intermediate host.

Figure 1.

PAGE 8

BEEF HEALTH CHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE

NEOSPORA - ABORTION IN BEEF SUCKLER HERDS

Donal Toolan, Research Officer, RVL Kilkenny (Retired) and member of AHI Parasite Technical Working Group

N eospora caninum is an important cause of reproductive loss in suckler cows. This protozoan parasite can cause abortion, usually peaking at about 5 or 6 months gestational age. Early abortion may result in the return to service of animals believed to be in-calf or in the delivery of mummified (dried, shrivelled) foetuses. If an infected cow does not abort, her live, full term daughters are likely to be born infected and have a greater likelihood of aborting than non-infected animals in the same herd. In this way, infection can pass from dam to offspring for many generations so that frequently infection in herds is confined to family groups. Infected animals may abort more than once from Whenever abortions occur in a herd, samples (including foetus, placenta (after-birth) and a blood sample from the dam) should be sent to a veterinary laboratory for examination. (Please note that a blood sample from the dam should also be tested for brucellosis as required by law.) Veterinary advice should be sought as to the most appropriate samples to submit and how the results of tests should be interpreted as Neospora may not be the only organism involved in an abortion outbreak. Blood samples are themost useful way of screening a suckler herd for neosporosis. For maximum accuracy, sampling should be done when animals are between 4 and 10 weeks before calving. How are animals infected with Neospora ? Cattle can be infected with Neospora in either of two ways: 1. From an infected dam – (calves are infected while still in the womb) or 2. By ingesting feed or liquid contaminated with faeces of a dog that is passing Neospora organisms at that time. neosporosis. Diagnosis

About 90% of infected animals are infected in the womb while about 10% are infected by dogs. Dogs become infected by eating carcases or placentas infected with Neospora caninum . Infected dogs spread Neospora infection for only a short time, so there is no need to get rid of farm dogs if neosporosis is diagnosed on a farm. Note that Neospora abortion is not contagious: it does not spread from an aborting animal to other bovine animals in the herd. Neither is it spread by an infected bull. Currently, no licensed treatment or vaccine for neosporosis is available Blood samples are the most useful way of screening a suckler herd for neosporosis. For maximum accuracy, sampling should be done when animals are between 4 and 10 weeks before calving. Prevention of new infection All farms, whether or not Neospora infection has been diagnosed, should do the following to avoid dogs becoming infected and to avoid infected dogs passing infection to cattle: 1. Keep dogs away from calving areas and from contact with aborted foetuses (or other carcases), placentas or uterine fluids. 2. Keep dogs away from areas where cattle feed is stored or where cattle are fed. Dog faeces passed on pasture should be picked up and disposed of so that cattle cannot access it. Owners of pet or hunting dogs should be discouraged from walking dogs on farmland.

PAGE 9

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

NEOSPORA - ABORTION IN BEEF SUCKLER HERDS

Control in an infected herd If the prevalence of infection is low, positive animals should be culled, giving priority to the removal of animals that have aborted. As neosporosis is not contagious, an infected animal that is rearing a calf need not be culled until the calf is weaned. If the prevalence of infection is high, positive animals may be culled over several years. Neosporosis status may be used in addition to factors such as infertility, lameness, milk yield, mastitis and temperament to decide which animals should be culled. If known positive animals are kept in the herd their female progeny should be fattened and slaughtered rather than used as suckler dams because they are likely to be infected and capable of maintaining infection in the herd. If it is desired to maintain the blood line of a particularly valuable infected animal, use of embryo transfer into a Neospora -negative recipient animal will result in the birth of an animal free of neosporosis.

More detailed information about this very important cause of abortion can be found on the Animal Health Ireland website in a leaflet entitled: “ Neospora caninum – a guide for farmers and vets” click here .

PAGE 10

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDICINES RECORDS AND RELEVANCE TO AMR

Patrick Clune, Medicines Division, Department of Food and the Marine, Backweston, Co. Kildare.

I n light of the emerging threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to both public and animal health, the maintenance of accurate on-farm medicines records is likely to become increasingly important into the future. Made mandatory initially over 30 years ago arising from concerns over residues (the contamination of food-stuffs with medicinal products making it into the food chain as a result of insufficient withdrawal periods) it is now a legal requirement that both the purchase and administration of all animal remedies are recorded by the farmer. So what must the records show? Where medicines are purchased the incoming record must detail the following: • name and address of supplier • date of receipt • quantity purchased • authorised name of the product. In the case where a medicine is administered, details required include: • date of administration • name and quantity of animal remedy administered

But what exactly is AMR and why is it important?

Antimicrobial Resistance is defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘resistance of a micro-organism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by it’. Ultimately this means that the bugs that antibiotics were originally developed to fight have adapted and become resistant to their effects. Today, antibiotic resistance is primarily a public health issue. However, it also has potential implications for the efficacious treatment of stock on farms. Given that many of the antibiotics that are used in human medicine are also used in agriculture, and that no new alternatives are likely to be developed any time soon, it is incumbent on everyone involved to ensure that the antibiotics we have at our disposal today are used in a way that safeguards their effectiveness for posterity. There is a collective responsibility on everyone, including farmers as key stakeholders in the agrifood sector, to use antibiotics responsibly and only on foot of a veterinary prescription. There is a collective responsibility on everyone, including farmers as key stakeholders in the agrifood sector, to use antibiotics responsibly and only on foot of a veterinary prescription. As part of this process, and in cooperation with the veterinary practitioner, a fully completed animal remedies record could prove a useful source of information and sharpen the focus of all parties involved in the establishment of a herd health plan, particularly on those holdings where higher levels of morbidity and disease go hand in hand with higher use of antibiotics. Accurate medicines records would facilitate the monitoring of on- farm antimicrobial consumption and over time reduce reliance on antibiotics.

• identity of animal/group treated • person administering remedy • expiry date of withdrawal period • condition treated (optional)

However, far from solely fulfilling a legal obligation, an accurately completed medicines record could serve as the first port of call in shifting focus at farm level towards herd health and disease prevention, and away from an over- dependence on antibiotics.

PAGE 11

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDICINES RECORDS AND RELEVANCE TO AMR

As ever, the right antibiotic should only be given to the right animal at the right dose for the right duration and any unnecessary use will only hasten the development and spread of resistance. For example, antibiotics are only effective against disease caused by bacteria; they have no action against viruses. Preventive use of antibiotics in the absence of clinical signs is a questionable practice at best and may amount to little more than a waste of time and money. The use of ‘Critically Important Antimicrobials’ (those antibiotics used as a last resort for human health and generally perceived to be the ‘stronger’ ones on farm, for example enrofloxacins, third and fourth generation cephalosporins etc.) should also be avoided in first line treatment and reserved for those times when alternative therapy has proven ineffective. Through their overuse, we are now approaching the stage where, due to AMR, the effectiveness of antibiotics is in peril. The well worn phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ has never been more relevant in an agricultural context than it is today. As such, where possible, the cause of disease should be investigated and strategies to prevent and control it,

such as a properly coordinated vaccination programme and improved bio-security, adopted to keep disease challenge to a minimum, in preference to a reliance on antibiotic therapy. To this end, the maintenance of accurate medicines records today may serve not only a legal obligation but also prove invaluable to everyone involved in drafting a herd health plan in the future.

PAGE 12

BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12

Made with FlippingBook Annual report