BHC Newsletter Winter FINAL

WINTER 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

PROGRAMME NEWS

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DAVID GRAHAM BERNADETTE EARLY JOHN GILMORE

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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 The Beef HealthCheck programme now captures data from 17 different plants belonging to 8 different processors

B y early December 2017, data from over 800,000 animals had been received, of which 68% were classified as beef animals and 32% as dairy animals. Steers made up the largest class of animal, followed by heifers, young bulls, cows and bulls (Figure 1). Fluke damage, either with or without the presence of live fluke, was the most commonly recorded abnormal finding, being present in a total of 20.9% of cattle. There was marked variation between animal classes in the proportion of animals with fluke damage overall and the proportion of animals in which live fluke were observed, being most common in cows in both cases (Figure 2).

YOUNG BULLS BULLS

HEIFERS

STEERS

COWS

Figure 1. Percentage of animals by class for which results received.

10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 35.0 40.0 45.0 50.0

45.7

17.9

FLUKE DAMAGE LIVE FLUKE

15.5

13.9

14.9

0.0 5.0

4.2

3.1

3.0

YB 3.0

2.4

ST

H

C

All

Figure 2. Prevalence of cattle (%) with liver damage attributed to liver fluke, including those in which live fluke were observed (red) overall and by class (YB, young bull; ST, steer; H, heifer; C, cow).

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION

BEEF HEALTHCHECK PROGRAMME UPDATE

Seasonal variations were also evident, both in the prevalence of live fluke and of fluke damage overall. In heifers, steers and young bulls, the prevalence of live fluke was higher earlier in the year (Figure 3), when cattle were presumed to have been housed and suggesting inadequate or ineffective treatment around housing and subsequently. Further information on parasite control at housing and of liver fluke generally, are available click here . In each of these classes, the trend over time was of decreasing prevalence. In contrast, the trend in the overall prevalence of liver damage in heifers and steers was upwards, the trend in young bulls was downwards.

15.00%

10.00%

5.00%

0.00%

0.00%

1 3 5

7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45

% LIVE FLUKE YB % LIVE COMBINED ST % LIVE FLUKE ST % LIVE COMBINED H Figure 3. Prevalence of live fluke and of fluke damage overall (live combined) in heifers (H), steers (S) and young bulls (YB) over the first 46 weeks of 2017. Trend lines are dashed. % LIVE COMBINED YB % OVERALL (LIVE COMBINED)

As reported previously, marked geographical variation was recorded between counties (Figure 4). The highest level of fluke damage (60.3%) was recorded in Leitrim, while the lowest (11.9%) was in Carlow. The highest prevalence of live fluke (13.6%) was also recorded in Leitrim, while the lowest (1.0%) was in Wexford.

60.00%

50.00%

FLUKE DAMAGE LIVE FLUKE

40.00%

30.00%

20.00%

10.00%

0.00%

Figure 4. Liver fluke results from the Beef HealthCheck programme by county.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE BVD ERADICATION PROGRAMME UPDATE

Dr David Graham, CEO Animal Health Ireland

S ignificant progress has been made in 2017 toward the eradication of BVD virus in Ireland. The prevalence of persistently infected (PI) calves so far this year is 0.1%, as compared to 0.16% in 2016 and 0.66% in 2013, the first year of the national programme. At a herd level, only 1.97% of approximately 83,000 breeding herds have had a positive result this year (compared to an initial prevalence of 11.3% of herds in 2013). The net benefit to farmers of this reduction in prevalence in 2017 alone is estimated to be €75M. Over 2017, we have also seen an increase in the speed with which PI calves have been removed following their identification. This is in response to the introduction of enhanced programme measures by the BVD Implementation Group (BVDIG), particularly the higher support payments for removal of PIs within 3 weeks of the date of the initial positive result and the restricting of herds that retain PIs for more than five weeks and notification of neighbouring herds to review their biosecurity. Collectively, the reduced prevalence and more rapid removal has resulted in only 95 PIs being alive nationally at the end of November, compared to 337 at the same point last year, with some counties, including Carlow, Dublin, Louth and Sligo having no PIs alive currently and a number of others with only a single PI alive.

Since 2016, 71,000 herds have obtained NHS. By identifying and testing any animals of unknown status, farmers can obtain NHS and access lower cost testing. To protect NHS, appropriate biosecurity measures should be put in place to minimize the risk of accidental introduction of infection to the herd. The key biosecurity risks which farmers should be aware of are as follows: • 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. Introduced 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 where possible. Otherwise adequate disinfection should be in place. For further advice on biosecurity, farmers are encouraged to speak to their vet, and to familiarise themselves with the advice on the AHI website click here .

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION

BVD ERADICATION PROGRAMME UPDATE

KEY MESSAGES FOR 2018

1. Tissue tag testing remains compulsory for 2018. A list of suppliers of approved tags and of the laboratories approved to test each tag type is available from the AHI website. 2. Tissue tag-test calves as soon as possible after birth. Where positive or inconclusive results are obtained, consult your veterinary practitioner for advice on whether to remove the calf immediately or to conduct a re-test. Where a decision is taken to re-test the calf, this must be done by means of a blood sample only (this also applies to testing of dams). DAFM will meet the costs of the visit by the herd’s veterinary practitioner and of testing the calf (and dam if sampled at the same time). 3. DAFM supports for removal of PI calves will continue at the following rates: BEEF HERDS: €185 for beef breed animals removed with a registered date of death on AIM within 3 weeks of the initial test, reducing to €60 if removed in the 4th or 5th week after

4. Veterinary investigations of all herds with PI calves born in 2018. All herds with PI calves born in 2018 are required to undergo an investigation funded through the Rural Development Plan, and delivered by a trained private veterinary practitioner, within 3 months of the date of the first positive result. 5. Restriction of herds retaining PI calves and notification of neighbours. DAFM will automatically restrict movements into and out of herds that retain PI animals for more than fiveweeks after the date of the initial test (in the absence of a recorded date of death on AIM). Ensure PIs are removed in time to allow the death to be recorded before 5 weeks elapse. Restrictions are automatically lifted following removal of PIs. Neighbouring herds will also be notified, advising them to take appropriate biosecurity measures to minimize the risk of accidental introduction of infection. 6. Test animals of unknown status to obtain NHS. Around 10,000 herds currently contain animals that either have not produced a negative calf or which do not have a valid result recorded on the database. The presence of these animals prevents herds attaining NHS and accessing lower cost testing. 7. Review biosecurity to minimize the risk of accidental introduction of BVD virus, leading to the birth of PI calves, through movement of animals, people (including the farmer) or equipment or across boundaries.

the initial test. DAIRY HERDS:

Dairy and dairy cross heifers: €150 if removed within 3 weeks of the initial test, reducing to €35 if removed in the 4th or 5thweek after the initial test. €30 for removal of bull calves within 3 weeks of the initial test.

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE

CLEAN LIVESTOCK POLICY

Bernadette Earley, Aidan Murray, Pearse Kelly, Teagasc Research Centre, Grange

L ivestock producers supply animals for slaughter for human consumption. Therefore, as food producers they have an important role to play in presenting clean livestock, including cattle, for slaughter. Much concern is raised about the faecal contamination of bovine carcase surfaces during slaughter and dressing as it can include zoonotic agents which are a serious risk to human health. Studies have shown that meat products of livestock origin have been linked to about 75% of the zoonotic agent, Shiga toxin-producing Ecoli (STEC) 0157:H7, which is responsible for foodborne outbreaks. Most cases of E.coli O157:H7 result in severe cramps followed by bloody diarrhoea. These symptoms may persist for several days to a few weeks. In up to 30% of cases serious life threatening complications can occur and 3-5% of patients may die with the very young, the very old and the immune suppressed being most vulnerable. Cattle (faeces) can be a source of E.coli O157:H7. Other animals may also carry it. Exposure to the air-borne particulate matter generated from the surface of loading pens significantly increase the prevalence and quantity of E. coli O157::H7 and Salmonella recovered from cattle hides. Thus the contamination from hide-to-carcase is considered to be one of the major sources of contamination. At present,

cattle for slaughter are categorised according to hide cleanliness, by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine which uses three categories to score cattle based on their hide cleanliness on arrival at the lairage; Satisfactory, Acceptable and Unacceptable. • Satisfactory - Cattle that can be slaughtered, without an unacceptable risk of contaminating the meat during the slaughter process, by using the standard hygienic dressing procedures routinely employed by the plant; • Acceptable - Cattle that can only be slaughtered, without an unacceptable risk of contamination of the meat during the slaughter process, by putting in place extra defined hygienic dressing controls; • Unacceptable - Cattle unfit for slaughter because of hide condition. These cattle must not be presented for ante mortem inspection in this condition and it is the responsibility of the Food Business Operator to take the required remedial action FoodWise 2025 , which sets out the strategic direction for the agri-food area over the next decade, identifies the need to develop a uniform approach to the supply of clean cattle, supported by research in this area.

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CLEAN LIVESTOCK POLICY

For the presentation of clean livestock at slaughter, producers should pay particular attention to 5 areas to improve cattle cleanliness

1. DIET • Where possible feed higher dry matter diets. • Reduce the amount of wet silages, roots and molasses pre slaughter. • Avoid any sudden changes to the diet. 2. HOUSING • Avoid overstocking and under stocking of cattle on slats. • Keep any solid areas in the shed free from manure build up. • When using straw bedding, bed regularly using adequate amounts. • Sheds should be well ventilated to keep cattle clean and dry. 3. HUSBANDRY • Keep animals dosed and worm free to minimise scouring. • Diets should be well balanced for vitamins and minerals. • Trim tails of cattle at housing time.

4. PRE-SALE MANAGEMENT • Do not mix unfamiliar groups of cattle. • Remove any low dry matter feeds in the final 48 hours pre slaughter and replace with straw or high DM silage. • Do not restrict water or starve cattle in the final 24 hours pre-slaughter. 5. TRANSPORT • Animals should preferably be dry at loading. • Do not leave animals in unbedded holding pens or yards for prolonged periods prior to loading. • Truck floors should be clean, dry and non-slip. Trailers should be cleaned between loads. • Do not use sawdust or shavings for bedding the floor, as they are more likely to stick to the animal’s coat and cause problems during dressing procedures on the killing line. Clean dry straw is the preferred bedding material. • Finishing cattle (550-650kg) require 1.3 to 1.5 sq metres (about 14-16 sq ft) floor space. Bigger cattle require more space. Dividers or partitions should be used to prevent injuries when trucks are understocked. • Good trailer ventilation is essential to reduce sweating.

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CLEAN LIVESTOCK POLICY

Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre (AGRIC), Grange, Dunsany. Co. Meath and Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland have conducted research into farm practices affecting cattle cleanliness. Their findings pinpoint factors likely to trigger or reduce problems. These can be broadly summarised as follows: DIET 1. Wet concentrate feeds (e.g. beet, molasses, brewer’s grains, potatoes) generally produced dirtier animals. 2. Increasing concentrate levels on grass silage based diets generally increased dirtiness. 3. Cattle on maize silage based diets were noticeably cleaner than cattle on grass silage based diets. HOUSING FACTORS 1. Cattle in slatted pens with a high proportion of solid floor (e.g. wide concrete aprons at the back of the pen) tended to be dirtier. 2. Good ventilation helped keep cattle clean. 3. Bigger pens tended to produce cleaner cattle than smaller pens (even if cattle had the same lying area allowance). 4. Cattle tend to get very dirty during the first 4-8 weeks of housing and then to clean up, particularly when they start to shed the winter coat. 5. Understocking has little impact on cleanliness, but overstocked cattle tended to be dirtier. 6. Mixing different groups of cattle (e.g. heifers and steers) may increase dirt levels.

7. Cattle finished off slats were slightly dirtier than those finished off straw. 8. Straw-bedded sheds can, however, produce very dirty cattle if poorly managed. RESEARCH ON CATTLE CLEANLINESS 1. Cattle tend to get very dirty during the first 4-8 weeks of housing 2. Cattle finished on concentrates plus straw were considerably cleaner than cattle finished on grass silage plus concentrates. 3. Lower dry matter silage may increase dirtiness although this did not happen consistently. HUSBANDRY PRACTICES 1. Clipping of tails at housing had a beneficial effect as this will stop dirt being flicked over the coat. 2. Shaving animals backs (e.g. 150mm strip along the spine from the tail head to shoulders) had a positive effect. 3. Moving dirty animals off slats and onto straw bedding for the final twoweeks of finishing did not substantially improve cleanliness – relative to the animals left behind on slats. 4. Taking cattle ready for sale off pasture and housing in straw-bedded units (e.g. overnight) in order to avoid heavy rainfall resulted in cleaner cattle. 5. Frequent handling prior to slaughter tended to make cattle dirtier. 6. Transport in very wet conditions substantially increased cattle dirtiness.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/foodsafetyconsumerissues/foodsafetycontrolsonmeat/cleanlivestockpolicy/ https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2016/Teagasc-Clean-Livestock-Policy-Beef.pdf

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION

FEATURE ARTICLE RUMEN AND LIVER FLUKE - TO TREAT OR NOT TO TREAT?

John Gilmore, Veterinary Practitioner and member of Parasite Control Technical Working Group

W inter is a useful time to consider treatment of liver and rumen fluke on Irish farms. Cattle will potentially have been exposed to both of these parasites during the grazing season. But how do you know whether you actually have to treat for either disease, or can you afford to ignore them? In order to consider which course of action is appropriate on your particular farm, first we have to look at a number of factors relating to both parasites and how they affect cattle. Lifecycle Rumen fluke and liver fluke are both species of parasites which infect ruminants, including cattle and sheep. Both parasites use an intermediate host as part of their lifecycle, this intermediate host is the mudsnail. In summary, infected cattle pass fluke eggs in their faeces, once ambient temperatures average greater than 10C these eggs hatch. After hatching the fluke can infect the mudsnail, where they undergo a period of maturation, after this the mudsnail can contaminate pasture with infective fluke larvae which cattle

eat while grazing at pasture. Once grazed by the animal the path of the rumen and liver fluke differs. As the names suggest liver fluke migrate to the liver and rumen fluke migrate to the gut. The length of time that this migration process takes is considerable and can be up to 4 months from the time of ingestion of infective fluke until the fluke become fully mature and start to produce eggs. Given the involvement of the mudsnail in the lifecycle of fluke, both parasites tend to be a more significant problem on wetter ground, however all counties in Ireland have reported infections from liver and rumen fluke. Harmful effects of fluke Liver fluke have the greater potential for causing harm to the animal through damage to the animal’s liver. Depending on several factors, including level of infection, age and level of nutrition of the animal, liver fluke can have serious negative effects on the animal. These effects can range from loss of thrive, reduced milk production, impaired immunity, weight

Life cycle of Liver Fluke

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BEEF HEALTHCHECK NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION

RUMEN AND LIVER FLUKE - TO TREAT OR NOT TO TREAT?

loss and potential death if severe enough. Rumen fluke can also cause impaired production, diarrhoea and weight loss. The predominant feature of rumen fluke infection in cattle is diarrhoea or “scour”. This is due to the action of immature rumen fluke in the animal’s small intestine. The immature rumen fluke cause damage to the small intestine before migrating back “upstream” to the animal’s rumen. To treat or not to treat? So, in summary the decision as to whether one should treat or not at this time of year is not a straight forward one. How do you know if your animals have liver or rumen fluke present? Many farmers take dung samples and send to a laboratory which checks for the presence of parasites in the dung. However farmers should bear in mind that the time from infection of the animal until liver fluke eggs appear in the faeces may be as long as 4 months, and even then liver fluke shedding may be intermittent. A new test, the coproantigen test, can yield a positive result at an earlier stage of infection, however reliance on faecal testing alone can lead to false negative results in cattle. Farmers should bear in mind the history on the farm. If cattle have been slaughtered recently on the farm, and the abattoir are part of Animal Health Ireland’s Beef HealthCheck programme,

then there should be a post-mortem result from the abattoir available. This report should indicate whether slaughtered cattle had evidence of liver fluke infection at the time of slaughter. If there are dairy cattle on the farm as well, a bulk tank milk sample can be used to look for the presence of antibodies to liver fluke, thereby indicating the presence of liver fluke on the farm. A positive result for any of the above, indicates that treatment for liver fluke is required. However even in the absence of these positive results farmers may still need to treat for liver fluke and should consult with their veterinary practitioner. Rumen fluke eggs are commonly found in faecal samples. The presence of rumen fluke eggs alone should not necessarily be taken as indicating that the animal must be treated for rumen fluke, this is because adult animals can tolerate the presence of rumen fluke in the rumen without any harmful effects. In general, the decision to treat for rumen fluke should be based on the presence or absence of clinical signs related to the disease, i.e. weight loss and diarrhoea, and generally the decision to treat or not should form part of a farm-specific parasite control plan drawn up in association with the farm’s veterinary practitioner.

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