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 HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER

FEATURE ARTICLES

BEEF HEALTHCHECK PROGRAMME UPDATE Dr Natascha Meunier | Page 2

TAKING FAECAL SAMPLES FOR PARASITE TESTING | Dr Natascha Meunier | Page 7 SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES FOR GUT WORM CONTROL | Dr Orla M. Keane | Page 5 SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN THE PREVALENCE OF PI ANIMALS | Dr Maria Guelbenzu | Page 3

HEALTH OF DAIRY-BRED CALVES Aidan Murray | Page 10

NATIONAL BEEF HEALTH PROGRAMME

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

AHI UPDATE

Beef HealthCheck programme update

Dr Natascha Meunier, Beef HealthCheck Programme Manager

D ata collection for the Beef HealthCheck programme has been increasing over the first half of 2019 as factories began resubmitting data after the resolution of last year’s industrial action by temporary veterinary inspectors. In 2019 to date, ICBF have received slaughter information for over 150,000 animals, of which 69% were beef animals. Nationally, the programme showed that per week an average of 2.5% of cattle presented for slaughter had live liver fluke and a further 12.7% had livers that were damaged by liver fluke. Liver abscesses were seen in 3.3% of cattle and pneumonia in 1% of cattle on average per week. Liver fluke and pneumonia was more common in young bulls than in steers or heifers for this period. This included both liver damage and live fluke levels. If live liver fluke were seen at slaughter in animals that have been finished in sheds, i.e. those that have not been on grass this season, it may imply that animals were inadequately treated for liver fluke post-housing. Farmers should review their Beef HealthCheck results from spring (available through ICBF online click here ) and evaluate their flukicide treatment plan for the coming year.

12

9

HEIFER STEER YBULL

6

3

0

Fluke damage

Live fluke

Liver abscess

Pneumonia

Figure1: Beef HealthCheck results per carcase type for 2019 (up to week 19)

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

BVD PROGRAMME UPDATE

Substantial progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of PI animals in 2019

Dr Maria Guelbenzu, Programme Manager

→ Substantial progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of PI animals in 2019. → PI animals must be removed as soon as possible. → Animals whose status is not known should be identified and tested. → Biosecurity should be reviewed in free herds to reduce the risk of pregnant animals getting infected.

W ith around 70% of this year’s calves born and tested, the prevalence of PI births has reduced to 0.03%. This represents a decrease in PI prevalence of more than twenty-fold since the start of the compulsory phase of the programme in 2013, when 0.66% of calves born were PI. In addition, the speed with which PI animals are being removed has increased, in response to measures including higher support payments for removal within 10 days of the date of the initial positive result and the restricting of herds that retain PIs for more than three weeks after that date. Figures to mid-May indicate that there are approximately 160 known PIs still alive, of which 69 have been retained beyond 3 weeks in 40 different herds. Updated programme results are available on a weekly basis online click here . As the breeding season is under way, females in these herds are entering the window of susceptibility, between 30 and 120 days of pregnancy, during which the PIs that will be born next spring will be created. This risk is greatest for those herds which currently contain PIs, and the BVD Implementation Group strongly encourages their prompt removal. It is also important that herds that are free of infection take measures to ensure that infection is not accidentally introduced. In the absence of appropriate biosecurity measures, pregnant females are at risk. In the first instance, any animals of unknown status should be identified and tested to ensure that no PI animals remain undetected in the farm.

As the breeding season is under way, females in these herds are entering the window of susceptibility, between 30 and 120 days of pregnancy, during which the PIs that will be born next spring will be created.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

BVD PROGRAMME UPDATE

Thereafter, biosecurity should be reviewed to minimize the likelihood of introduction. The following should be addressed: • Purchased cattle, or those returning unsold or from shows should go through a quarantine process on entering the herd. They should be held in a quarantine facility (building or paddock) for at least 28 days, with particular care taken to avoid them coming in contact with pregnant stock. In-calf stock present a particular risk, as they may be carrying a PI calf. • Contact with cattle across boundaries. Cattle should not graze at boundaries where nose to nose contact with other cattle is possible. Boundaries should be sufficient to prevent cattle breaking in or out and provide a gap of at least 3m (even if only on a temporary basis using an electric fence). • Movement of personnel (including the farmer) without adequate attention to hygiene. Only essential visitors should contact cattle, and all personnel, including the farmer, should use farm-specific boots and clothing or take steps to ensure that adequate disinfection procedures are followed. • Movement or sharing of large or small items of equipment should be avoided. Otherwise adequate disinfection should be in place. For further advice on biosecurity, talk to your vet or click here .

Figure 2: Number and distribution of BVD- positive animals born in 2019 until 30th April.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE Sustainable strategies for gut worm control

Dr Orla M. Keane, Teagasc, Grange Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Dunsany, Co. Meath

G razing cattle are naturally exposed to gut worms. A variety of gut worm species infect cattle but the most common are Ostertagia which infects the abomasum (4 th stomach) and Cooperia which infects the small intestine. Infection with these worms can cause scour and ill-thrift but more commonly results in appetite suppression resulting in reduced growth rates. Parasitic gastroenteritis caused by gut worms is primarily a disease of first season grazing cattle and is often more common in the second half of the grazing season due to the build- up of larvae on pasture. After their first grazing season cattle commonly develop sufficient immunity to prevent clinical disease but heavy infections can still reduce performance. In autumn, worm larval development may arrest at the L4 stage and the larvae remain in the abomasal wall. Larvae can over-winter in this arrested state and resume their development the following spring causing a disease known as type II Ostertagiosis. Worm Control Control of gut worms is usually achieved by the administration of broad-spectrum anthelmintics. There are a large number of products licenced for the control of gut worms in cattle; however they fall into a smaller number of drug classes (Table 1).

Anthelmintic Class

Common name

Route

Stages affected

Benzimidazole

White (1-BZ) Yellow (2-LV) Clear (3-ML)

Oral

Eggs, larvae, adults

Levamisole

Oral, inject, pour on

Adults

Macrocyclic lactone

Inject, pour on

Larvae, adults

Table 1. Anthelmintic classes for the control of gut worms in cattle.

However, the widespread use of anthelmintics has resulted in the emergence of anthelmintic resistant gut worms. Anthelmintic resistance refers to the ability of worms to survive a dose that should kill them. Anthelmintics from different classes have different modes of action. However, within the same class all products share a mode of action and so when resistance develops to one product within a class all products in the same class are generally also affected.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES FOR GUT WORM CONTROL

It is important that beef producers implement sustainable strategies to manage gut worms and delay the development of anthelmintic resistance. Determiningwhich of the anthelmintic classes are effective on the farm is a good first step. Consult your veterinary practitioner or advisor on how to do this. When considering anthelmintic treatment first establish whether the group requires dosing. Young stock should be monitored for signs of clinical disease such as scour and failure to thrive. Worm burden can also be monitored using faecal egg counts. In calves, a faecal egg count of more than 200 eggs per gram may indicate a need to treat. It is essential that the correct dosing technique is used and that the animals are treated according to the manufacturer’s instructions and dose rates. The dosing equipment should be checked before treatment to ensure it is delivering the correct amount. The animals should be weighed or a few of the biggest animals in the group selected and weighed to determine the dose rate and all dosed to the weight of the heaviest animal. Continual use of anthelmintics from the same class should be avoided and a combination anthelmintic products (flukicide + wormer) only used when it is necessary to target both fluke and worms. Where possible keep the cleanest grazing, such as forage crops, reseeded ground or hay/silage after grass, for the most naïve animals. Calves can also be grazed ahead of older animals or mixed with sheep to reduce the worm challenge. A good biosecurity protocol for all bought-in animals should be implemented to prevent bringing resistant worms onto the farm. Bought in stock should be treated with an anthelmintic and housed for 48 hours. They should then be turned out to contaminated pasture recently grazed by cattle. Early detection of anthelmintic resistance and the implementation of sustainable worm control strategies are required in order to protect animal health and prolong the life of the current anthelmintics.

It is important that beef producers implement sustainable strategies to manage gut worms and delay the development of anthelmintic resistance. Continual use of anthelmintics from the same class should be avoided and a combination anthelmintic products (flukicide + wormer) only used when it is necessary to target both fluke and worms.

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BEEF HEALTH CHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE Taking faecal samples for parasite testing

Dr Natascha Meunier, Beef HeathCheck Programme Manager

Why take faecal samples? An effective parasite control plan consists of monitoring animal performance, diagnostic testing, appropriate grazing management strategies and effective treatment. Diagnostic testing of faecal (dung) samples can detect gutworm eggs, liver fluke eggs, rumen fluke eggs, lungworm larvae, coccidia and cryptosporidia oocysts. Results of worm egg counts are usually given in eggs per gram of faeces. There is a delay between animals being infected by parasites and the presence of eggs or larvae in a faecal sample. The immature stages of the parasite can cause disease in the animal before eggs are shed and this is especially true for lungworm. Factors such as clinical signs or the age of the animals should be considered when interpreting the results of faecal egg counts and deciding if treatment is needed.

An effective parasite control plan consists of monitoring animal performance, diagnostic testing, appropriate grazing management strategies and effective treatment.

Faecal sampling can be done: • Routinely, to monitor gut parasites on farm.

• To diagnose a problem in sick animals or animals failing to thrive. • To check if worming treatment is needed for a group or not. • To test bought-in cattle before mixing with your herd. • To test how effectively an anthelmintic (wormer) product is working .

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

TAKING FAECAL SAMPLES FOR PARASITE TESTING

Anthelmintics are convenient and reasonably priced, but their misuse can lead to the development of resistance, making them ineffective in the future. Monitoring parasites through faecal sampling can help minimise the use of anthelmintics and assist the effective timing of treatments. Start routine monitoring in calves for gut worms roughly 8 weeks after turnout, although spring-born suckler calves usually only need sampling later in the season around weaning. Collection of samples to monitor for liver fluke can be done at or after housing. Consult with your veterinary practitioner on the timing of sampling, whether treatment is advised and which anthelmintic to use, based on the results. How to take the samples on farm It is essential to obtain samples from fresh faeces. Eggs in older dung may have hatched or dried out giving inaccurate results. To obtain freshly fallen samples, approaching a group of resting animals will often encourage them to pass faeces as they walk away. For lungworm testing, it is important to get very freshly passed faeces if a rectal sample is not possible, as larvae in the grass can contaminate the sample over time.

For the best chance of capturing parasites, take samples from multiple areas in the dung because the parasite eggs are not distributed evenly.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

TAKING FAECAL SAMPLES FOR PARASITE TESTING

Wear gloves and collect 10-40 grams of faeces per animal, roughly the size of a golf ball that would fit into a 25 ml pot. Take a small amount from multiple sites in the dung of each animal mixed together for one sample because the parasite eggs are unlikely to be distributed evenly throughout the dung. Sample 5-15 animals per management group, placing their samples into individual sample pots. The laboratory can pool samples from a management group in order to be more cost effective but seek veterinary practitioner advice to discuss if this is the best approach for your herd as this can reduce the information obtained from the test. Place faeces in a pot with screw-cap lid or a leakproof zipper storage bag. Remove the air from the bag or fill the pot only ¾ full to allow air space for developing gas. Containers can burst, so ensure that they are leakproof and can withstand pressure. Label the samples to distinguish between animals. Freshness is the most important aspect of good quality samples and ideally the samples should reach the lab within 24 hours . Do not leave the samples in the sun and keep them cool, but do not freeze them. If there is a delay in sending them for many days, take new samples. Send samples at the beginning of the week- if they reach the laboratory late Friday afternoon they may not be processed until Monday, decreasing the accuracy of the test. Lungworm testing requires an overnight process so these must reach the laboratory by Thursday each week. Packaging the sample for postage Veterinary practitioners can send the faecal samples to the laboratory on behalf of the farmer along with a submission form detailing any relevant clinical history.

Samples being posted need to comply with the following:

• Place the samples inside a leakproof bag along with some absorbent material, such as paper towels.

• The bag containing the samples is then placed into a sturdy outer packaging, resulting in a three-layer packaging. The words ‘Biological substance, category B’ should be written on the outside packaging with UN3373 hazard symbol. More details of this can be found on the DAFM website click here. • Do not forget to include a laboratory submission formwith relevant contact details and the tests requested. For example, ensure that you indicate if a pooled test is requested on individually submitted samples. These forms are usually available on the laboratory websites. A list of parasite testing laboratories can be found on the AHI website click here.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE

Health of dairy- bred calves Aidan Murray, Teagasc, Knowledge Transfer, Drystock Department, Cavan Lower, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. → A proactive approach to animal health on dairy calf to beef farms is needed. → Good husbandry, housing and planned use of vaccination will help reduce the incidence of many scour and pneumonia outbreaks. → We have to accept that our approach to animal health is going to change as we deal with on-going issues of antimicrobial resistance and anthelmintic resistance. Introduction With the continued expansion of the dairy herd towards 1.6m cows, one of the consequences will obviously be additional calves coming on the market. It has been predicted that by 2021 up to 900,000 calves will become available to either go for export or for the majority to end up being finished on Irish farms. This will provide challenges on many fronts; from ensuring that we have first class health and welfare standards facilitating live exports, to having systems in place on Irish farms that will allow these calves to thrive and leave a margin. In order to achieve good lifetime performance from these calves, good animal health protocols are required from birth through to slaughter. The purchase of calves onto a farm is on its own a biosecurity risk and there should be a protocol in place as to how calves should be managed at arrival on the farm. Management of purchased calves at arrival on farm • Check calves for signs of illness. • Within 2-3 hours of arrival on farm feed a good rehydration electrolyte as a first feed. • Take rectal body temperatures. • Take sick animals to a sick pen for diagnosis and possible treatment by or upon advice of your veterinary practitioner. • Continue to monitor young calves closely for the first 10 days after arrival.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

HEALTH OF DAIRY-BRED CALVES

Suitable housing is also important and a few points below are worth noting: • Reduced environmental stresses. • Provide dry, draught-free housing. • Over-stocking should be avoided. • Ventilation must be good to reduce the burden of infection and risk of mortality. • Dry, draught-free housing will reduce the environmental stresses on calves and adequate air changes resulting from good ventilation reduce the infection load on the calves. Main Disease Risks Calf Scours A report released from the veterinary service of DAFM and DARD a few years ago revealed that up to 40% of calf deaths in the first six weeks are scour related. In a scenario where many of these dairy calves will arrive on farms from multiple sources, the ability to maintain a high level of biosecurity is diminished and therefore the risk of scour increases. If the dam has been vaccinated pre-calving, and the calf consumed adequate colostrum in the first 12 hours after birth, then the calf will have received a level of resistance against E. coli , rotavirus and coronavirus before it arrives on farm. But often this will be unknown by the purchaser.

Calf Scours

Age (Days)

E. Coli

1- 5

Cryptosporidium A/B/C

0-14

Cryptosporidium parvum

7- 12 4- 21 7 – 30

Rotavirus

Coronavirus

Table 1. Scour causative agents and typical age of infection

Cryptosporidium parvum is becoming more prevalent and, apart from the obvious lack of thrive and potential for high mortality rates, it is both expensive and time consuming to control an outbreak. It can also infect humans through cryptosporidium contaminated water supplies. There is no preventative vaccine. Calves from five to 35 days are susceptible, but it generally occurs in the second week of life. The infection will cause severe damage to the lining of the gut wall and destroys the ability of the animal to absorb nutrients. Calves will become lethargic, stop drinking and can become dehydrated quickly. Once infected, after four days the calves will begin to shed vast quantities of oocytes in their scour. This leaves the environment heavily contaminated for other calves that then become infected. Rehydration therapy with milk and electrolytes and administration of preventative medication is required.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

HEALTH OF DAIRY-BRED CALVES

Coccidiosis tends to be seen in calves from about three weeks of age up to about six months. Infected calves pass out large numbers of oocytes which can contaminate the environment for other calves. The oocytes are resistant and can survive for long periods in the environment, for example in calf houses/sheds. Probably the biggest economic loss associated with coccidiosis is the poor thrive in animals that are affected. In many herds there may be sub-clinical infection where animals show very few symptoms and will recover with time, however thrive and performance will be affected. In consultation with your veterinary practitioner, a planned prophylactic treatment programme may be necessary. Treatment of calves with scour must involve rehydration, correction of acidosis, and replacement of electrolytes. In order to effectively correct acidosis, electrolyte products with an SID of at least 60mmol/litre are required. Research shows that products meeting this specification restore blood pH and base excess within a 12-18 hour period and facilitate a quick and full recovery of calves from scour. Pneumonia Pneumonia can be viral or bacterial in origin: Mannhaemia haemolytica Pneumonia is consistently the most commonly diagnosed cause of mortality in cattle greater than one month of age in DAFM regional veterinary laboratories. Non-fatal consequences of the disease are reduced weight gain, stunting and increased susceptibility to inter-current infection. A planned vaccination programme, proper housing and good management practises will help mitigate potential outbreaks of pneumonia. Health management of purchased calves • Purchased calves should be isolated from resident calves for at least one week. • Continue to monitor their health status after arrival; treat any arising issues promptly. • Housing must be dry, well bedded, ventilated and draught-free and not over stocked. • The first feed after arrival should be electrolytes. • Within the first week of arrival, calves should be vaccinated against pneumonia and receive multivitamins. • Always have clean, fresh water available for calves. • Have fresh concentrate available for calves from an early age to improve intakes, performance and reduce the stress at weaning. Viral IBR, BRSV & PI 3 Bacterial

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER SUMMER EDITION

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