AHI Newsletter - Winter edition FINAL

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

Events and Media


Dr Orla Keane Parasite Control Technical Working Group Dr Mark Little CalfCare Technical Working Group Focus on TWG Members


AHI Programme Updates P11

CellCheck • BVD • Johne’s Disease Beef HealthCheck • IBR BioSecurity

Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27 Phone 071 9671928 Email nmorgan@animalhealthireland.ie www.AnimalHealthIreland.ie

AHI gratefully acknowledges the financial and other contributions of our stakeholders.

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

Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27 Phone 071 9671928 Email nmorgan@animalhealthireland.ie


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Events And Media

Focus on Technical Working Group Members



Johne’s Disease

Beef HealthCheck




Dr David Graham, CEO, Animal Health Ireland

T he past few months have been one of substantial change and activity within Animal Health Ireland. Joe O’Flaherty stepped down as CEO, having led the organisation since it was established in 2009, returning to a position with DAFM. In addition, Rebecca Carroll, under whose watch the Beef HealthCheck (BHC) programme had grown from strength to strength also moved on, again taking up a role with DAFM. We are in the process of recruiting a new BHC programme manager to continue this work, as well as an additional programme manager who will take on some of the duties I previously fulfilled as BVD programme manager and will also have a focus on developing and taking forward options for a national IBR programme. Building on the recognised benefits to the BVD programme of the national BVD model developed in collaboration with colleagues in Germany, we are also advertising for a PhD student to work with the same group to develop a national IBR model. Collectively, we believe that these appointments will leave AHI well placed to deliver on our commitments to stakeholders regarding these core programmes. Alongside these personnel changes, progress has continued with each of the core programmes, as described in detail in the programme reports herein. As reported by Lorna Citer, JD programmemanager, an important milestone was reached in September when Phase One of the Irish Johne’s Control Programme (IJCP) was launched. It has been encouraging to see the level of uptake to date, when registration has

been restricted to those herds that took part in the previous pilot programme. In parallel, a significant study to address key elements of Phase Two of the programme in 2018 has been initiated. As reported by Finola McCoy, CellCheck programme manager, analysis of national data for 2016 showed continued progress toward the programme’s primary objective of having 75% of processed milk having a SCC below 200,000. The CellCheck awards, sponsored by FBD Insurance were another recent highlight, with over 600 people coming together to celebrate excellence in national udder health. The year on year reduction in the SCC required to be recognised as one of the top 500 producers nationally is a further testament to the programme’s success. The impact of the range of enhancements to the BVD programme are evident, with both the lowest number of PIs alive and the lowest number of herds retaining PIs at any point since the programme began in 2013 being recorded at the end of November. As we come to the end of 2017 it is appropriate to thank all of our stakeholders for their ongoing financial commitment to, and support for, AHI as we work together to deliver on agreed objectives. This year also marks the end of our current three year strategic plan, and we look forward to engaging with stakeholders in the coming weeks as we reflect on delivery and consult on our future direction. In the meantime, I will take this opportunity to wish all of our readers, both personally and corporately, a healthy and successful New Year.



Events and Media

Gráinne Dwyer, Communications and Event Manager

Milking For Quality Awards The CellCheck Milking For Quality Awards ceremony was held in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny on the 23rd of November. The Awards celebrate excellence in udder health performance across our dairy industry and are given to the 500 milk suppliers in 14 Coop regions with the lowest weighted annual average somatic cell count. This is the fourth year of the awards and recognises excellence in the 2016 supply year. Data from the 2016 supply year show all winners having an SCC of 78,000 cells/mL or less and this confirms that great improvements in SCC continue to be made by Irish dairy farmers.

Aspart of theprogrammeof eventson thenight, Damien O’Reilly, of Countrywide, facilitated a panel discussion which included Finola McCoy, CellCheck Programme Manager, Kevin Moran, 2016 FBD Young Farmer of the Year, Jane and Louis Grubb, Cashel Blue Farmhouse Cheeses and Sandra and Joe Burns of Joe’s Farm Crisps. The programme concluded with the presentation of a special award to the supplier from each of the 14 milk processors with the best SCC for 2016. Over 650 winners, their partners, sponsors and industry representatives attended the ceremony and the CellCheck Milking For Quality Awards ceremony was sponsored by FBD Insurance and supported by Ornua and the Irish Farmers’ Journal.

Liam Herlihy, Chairman FBD Insurance (Sponsor), Mike Magan, Chairman, AHI with David Graham, CEO and Finola McCoy, CellCheck Programme Manager with the best performing suppliers from each of the 14 participating milk processors.



Events and Media

Mike Magan, Chairman, AHI welcoming the Best 500 win- ners and guests to the Awards ceremony.

Louis Grubb of Cashel Blue Farmhouse Cheese speaking at the Awards ceremony.

Finola McCoy, CellCheck Programme Manager and Kevin Moran, 2016 FBD Young Farmer of the Year being interviewed at the Awards ceremony.



Events and Media

Damien O’Reilly RTE interviewing Finola McCoy, Kevin Moran, Jane and Louis Grubb and Sandra and Joe Burns during the CellCheck Milking For Quality Awards ceremony.



Events and Media

CalfCare Events Planning is at an advanced stage for our CalfCare events scheduled to take place in January 2018. Ten on-farmevents will be held around the country starting on the 8th of January and concluding on 25th in Sligo. The theme ‘Today’s Calves, Tomorrow’s Herd – how to maximise calf health for long term profitability’ will be of interest to all farmers who wish to improve the health of their calves for future financial gains. The

events are organised in partnership with Teagasc and eight Dairy Coops and supported by Volac. Four topics will be discussed at each event and these include: • Johne’s Disease • Calf housing • Labour-efficient calf management • Disinfection protocols for the calving season.




Dairygold 8 th January Teagasc Research Farm, Kilworth, Co. Cork. P61 TW30 Lakeland Dairies 9 th January Edward Cooney, Tierworker, Kells, Co. Meath. A82 DE76 Centenary Thurles 11 th January

Rory & Mairead O’Regan, Knockroe, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. E41 RY67 Noreen & Padraig Calanan, Raheenabrogue, Ballyroan, Co. Laois. R32 K3V8

Glanbia Glanbia

12 th January

16 th January Kenneth & Fergal O’Brien, Knocknastooka, Grange, Co. Waterford. P36 XD68


18 th January Liam Leahy, Bridelands, Crookstown, Co. Cork. P14 R978

Tipperary Coop 19 th January Tom & Patricia Moran, Ballygriffin, Golden, Co. Tipperary. E25 E337 Arrabawn Coop 23 rd January Aidan & Kathleen Treacy, Lisnacody, Eyrecourt, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. H53 AE36 Kerry Agri Business 24 th January James &Michael Hickey, Inch St Laurence, Caherconlish, Co Limerick. V94 E9F7 Aurivo 25 th January David Henry, Roscrib House, Ballymote. Co. Sligo. F56 K072 All events start at 11am

Brian Mullally Glanbia, Tom O’Dwyer Teagasc, Grainne Dwyer AHI, Pat Cahill Volac and Owen Power Teagasc attending the launch of the CalfCare events on the farm of Rory Regan, Thurles.



Events and Media Beef HealthCheck Events

requisite to participate in JD-related TASAH training that will take place in 2018 in support of the IJCP. For those vets who wish to become an AVP, we intend to hold further VRAMP training in April/May 2018. If you are interested in participating in this or other AHI training, click here to complete an Expression of Interest form. BVD TASAH Training Two BVD TASAH training sessions are planned for January. Please contact the AHI office on 071 9671928 to book. Places are limited so early booking is advised. Dates and Venues • 30 th January, 2018 – Midlands Park Hotel (formally Heritage Hotel), Portlaoise, Co. Laois. • 1 st of February 2018 - Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan .

Five Beef HealthCheck events will take place from mid-February to early March, with the theme ‘Animal health: A key to trade’. AHI is working with Teagasc and representatives of Meat Industry Ireland to deliver these events. Further details will be available on our

website shortly. AHI Training

VRAMP training. AHI training continued in September when we held a Johne’s Disease VRAMP training session in Gurteen Agricultural College, Roscrea. Participation in VRAMP training is essential for vets wishing to become Approved Veterinary Practitioners (AVPs) to enable them to deliver veterinary risk assessments and management plans (VRAMPs) in the Irish Johne’s Control Programme (IJCP), and is a pre-



Focus on Technical Working Group Members

Name: Dr Orla Keane Profession: Senior Researcher, Teagasc Research Centre, Grange TWG Membership: Parasite Control

Orla Keane is originally from Co. Kildare and is currently a Senior Researcher in the Animal & Bioscience Department in Teagasc, Grange. She qualified with a BA (Mod), and PhD (2003) in Microbiology from Trinity College Dublin. During this time she also completed a post-graduate diploma in Statistics. She subsequently spent 4 years (2003-2006) at AgResearch, New Zealand researching the genetics of resistance to gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep. Orla’s current research interests are in the area of infection biology, particularly ruminant-nematode interactions, the development of resistance to gastrointestinal nematode infection in sheep and strategies to mitigate the risks of anthelmintic resistance in sheep and cattle. She was a partner in a number of national and international veterinary parasitology projects including Sustainable Solutions for Small Ruminants (3SR) and Coping with Anthelmintic Resistance in Ruminants (CARES). Orla has published extensively on various aspects of the host response to gastrointestinal nematode infection and the prevalence of anthelmintic resistance in Ireland. Currently, Orla is a member of the Irish Society for Parasitology and engages in knowledge transfer and has authored a number of technical publications for the agriculture industry.

Name: Dr Mark Little Profession: Technial Manager, Trouw Nutrition Ireland TWG Membership: CalfCare

Mark grew up on a mixed dairy and beef farm in County Fermanagh. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2002 and spent 10 years working as a large animal vet in County Tyrone and Armagh. During his time in practice, Mark focused on routine farm visits and herd health investigations, and completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Herd Health from UCD. In 2002, Mark worked for Zoetis as Area Veterinary Manager for Northern Ireland, before moving to Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Hillsborough, where he completed a PhD with Queens University Belfast, on the nutritional impacts on immunity in the transition dairy cow. In November 2016, Mark took up the post of Technical Manager with Trouw Nutrition Ireland, where he works with colleagues and customers giving health and nutritional advice. He is also secretary of the North of Ireland Veterinary Association and reviewer for the inFOCUS veterinary journal. Mark feels that calf health is critical to achieving and maintaining a productive, healthy and profitable herd.



Programme Update CellCheck

CellCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie

Finola McCoy, Programme Manager

T he CellCheck Implementation Group (IG) has continued to meet, with a working agenda focussing on the key industry challenges previously identified by the group- antimicrobial usage and resistance, dealing with herds with chronic mastitis issues and the relatively low uptake of milk recording in Irish herds. The IG identified the establishment of a small working group to develop a milk recording strategy and implementation plan as a priority action. This Milk Recording Strategy Group has commenced work and reported back to the IG at the last meeting of the year in December. The IG has also requested that development work commence on a ‘Mastitis Investigation Tool’, similar to the other AHI dashboards that have been developed to support other disease programme areas and on-farm investigations and problem solving. Having commissioned a literature review by an external consultant of recent research on dry cow therapy, the TWG has reviewed this research and published a bulletin for industry circulation click here . This bulletin is an update to the current CellCheck guidelines on the use of dry cow therapy, and outlines the key areas of new and recent research, potential benefits and risks and how to manage those risks. DAFM concluded the collation of the 2016 national bulk tank SCC dataset, with the assistance of the dairy processors during this period. Preliminary analysis of this dataset shows a continued positive trend in national udder health (Figure 1), with an increase in the proportion of both herds and milk volume with an annual SCC <200,000 cells/mL. (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Annual average SCC (2007-2016)



Programme Update CellCheck

This dataset also enabled AHI to proceed with the annual CellCheck Milking For Quality awards, with a national award ceremony in November. We continue to see increasing levels of excellence even among the top suppliers in the country, with all 500 winners of the 2016 awards having an SCC of 78,000 cells/mL or less, compared to the winners of the 2013 awards who all had an SCC of 103,000 cells/mL or less. Delivery of the second and final phase of CellCheck Farmer Workshops as part of theDairy KnowledgeTransfer programme continues: the DAFM deadline for workshop participation is the end of 2017. To date, 116 workshops have been held as part of the KT programme, with 1,490 farmers participating. The final round of the new laboratory proficiency test (PT) scheme for identification of mastitis-causing bacteria in milk developed by Limerick RVL has been delivered. An update of commercial laboratories successfully participating in the PT scheme will be forwarded to the AHI team before year end, in order to identify the “CellCheck partner labs” and facilitate the development of an online contact list for these. A presentation on this new PT scheme and its next steps was given at the annual European Mastitis Research Workers meeting in September, with much international interest in the project.

Figure 2. Annual increase in the proportion of herds/milk volume with an SCC <200,000 cells/mL

Delegates at European Mastitis Research Workshops meeting, Denmark



Programme Update BVD

AnimalHealthIreland.ie BVDFree

Dr David Graham, Programme Manager

Results By the end of November 2017, 2.26 million calves had been registered. Results were available for 98.7% of these calves, of which 0.10% were considered to be persistently infected (PI) with BVDV, with these being located in 2.0% of 83,000 breeding herds. This represents a decrease in PI prevalence of more than six-fold since the start of the compulsory phase of the programme in 2013, when 0.66% of calves born were PI, and a further reduction from 2016 (Figures 1, 2), generating an overall saving to farmers in 2017 in excess of €75 million. Updated programme results are available on a weekly basis click here .





























2015 2016 2017



2015 2016 2017



Figure 1B. Prevalence of PI calves born during each year of the programme

Figure 1A. Prevalence of herds with PI calves born during each year of the programme

A key goal of the programme in 2017 has been the prompt removal of PI calves as soon as possible after birth, with a number of programme enhancements put in place to address this. These include increased levels of financial support for removal of PIs (but with these being available for a reduced period), the automation of the imposition of restrictions of herds retaining PI calves for more than five weeks after the date of their first test and issuing of notifications to neighbouring herds advising them to review their biosecurity, mandatory herd investigations within three months of the disclosing result (funded through the Rural Development Plan under the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health [TASAH]) and the limiting of confirmatory testing of calves and of their dams to blood samples (funded by DAFM).



Programme update BVD

Collectively, these measures, in conjunction with a falling prevalence, have had a significant impact on the numbers of PIs alive and on the numbers being retained. At the end of November 2017, only 95 PIs were still alive in 73 herds (of which 91 were born in 2017), compared to a figure of 359 PIs alive at the same point last year (of which 337 were born in 2016), representing a reduction of almost four-fold. This is the lowest number of PIs alive recorded in the programme to date. Reflecting these low numbers, four counties (Carlow, Dublin, Louth and Sligo) had no known PIs alive at the end of November, while several others had a single PI (Figure 2), although it is expected that there are some PI calves in utero to be born in 2018). Only 18 herds were actually retaining PIs born in 2017 at the end of November (no registered date of death within 5 weeks of the initial test date), compared to 126 herds at the same point in 2016, representing a reduction in retention of approximately seven-fold. While this clearly demonstrates good progress, it is critical that the incidence of retention is reduced to zero, with all calves being tested as soon as possible after birth and PIs removed as rapidly as possible thereafter. Recent modelling work, incorporating 2017 data, predicts that with all PIs being removed within 5 weeks of birth that 500-550 PIs will be born in 2018 and approximately 120 in 2019, with eradication achievable by 2020.

Figure 2. Map showing distribution of live PI animals at the end of November 2017, showing Carlow, Dublin, Louth and Sligo as having no PIs alive at that time. Each hexagon represents an area of approximately 10km 2



Programme Update BVD

Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) During 2017 all herds with positive results are required to undergo an RDP-funded TASAH herd investigation by a trained veterinary practitioner within 3 months of the initial positive result. These investigations seek to review herd biosecurity, identify a plausible source or sources of infection, ensure that the herd is left free from BVDV and agree farm-specific measures to prevent its re-introduction. Investigations have now been completed for 693 herds with positive results in 2017 (57%). A small number have not been completed within the 3 months allocated and these are now being contacted to progress the investigations. Negative herd status (NHS) Herds qualify for negative herd status (NHS) by meeting the following requirements: 1. existenceof anegativeBVDstatus for everyanimal currently in theherd (on thebasisof either ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’ results); 2. absence of any animal(s) deemed to be persistently infected with BVD virus from the herd in the 12 months preceding the acquisition of NHS By the end of November 2017, over 71,000 (86%) of ~83,000 breeding herds had acquired NHS, with a further 10,250 herds (mostly beef) only being ineligible due to the presence of a small number of animals whose status is not known (including older animals born prior to 2013 and also some born during the programme that either have not been tested within the allowed timescale or that had empty tags). The BVDIG is encouraging the prompt sampling and testing of these animals, either in conjunction with the herd TB test or otherwise, to ensure that their status is resolved and as many herds as possible acquire NHS. Additionally, herds that have NHS can access testing at a reduced rate. Herds that have acquired NHS can be confident that they no longer have BVD virus circulating, and analysis shows that they are much less likely to have PIs subsequently, relative to herds without NHS. However, inadequate attention to biosecurity to prevent introduction of infection from outside sources may lead to reinfection. As the number of infected herds decreases, and the programme moves toward eradication, it is increasingly important that herds with NHS take measures to enhance their biosecurity and protect their status. Based on the findings from TASAH investigations, measures to address the following pathways by which virus may be introduced should be put in place to prevent accidental creation of further PI calves: • Movement of personnel (including the farmer) without adequate attention to hygiene. Only essential visitors should contact cattle, particularly in early pregnancy, and all personnel, including the farmer, should use farm- specific boots and clothing or take steps to ensure that adequate disinfection procedures are followed. • Contact with cattle across boundaries. Cattle up to 120 days of pregnancy are at particular risk andwhere possible 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). • 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. • Movement or sharing of large or small items of equipment should be avoided where possible. Otherwise adequate disinfection should be in place.



Programme Update BVD

More generally, herdowners are encouraged to discuss biosecurity, including any potential changes to their vaccination policy, with their own veterinary practitioner. Further details on biosecurity, including quarantine, are available from the AHI website click here. 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 click here . 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 4 th or 5 th week after 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 4 th or 5 th week after the initial test. €30 for removal of bull calves within 3 weeks of the initial test. For full terms and conditions see click here . 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. For details contact Animal Health Ireland on 071 967 1928 or follow click here . 5. Restriction of herds retaining PI calves and notification of neighbours. DAFMwill automatically restrict movements into and out of herds that retain PI animals for more than five weeks 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 11,000 herds 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 click here .



Programme Update Johne’s Disease

Johne's Control AnimalHealthIreland.ie

Lorna Citer, Programme Manager

The Irish Johne’s Control Programme (IJCP) commenced in September 2017 with support from all stakeholders. A phased approach had been adopted to implementation, with Phase one, commencing in 2017, acting as a bridge between the pilot programme and the IJCP for those herds that participated in the former. Phase two, commencing in early 2018, will open participation to all herds and expand the range of programme measures available to participating farmers. This approach will enable the dairy industry to implement a sustainable and evolving long term approach to the control of Johne’s disease in Ireland. The current programme objectives seek to reduce the risk of disease spread within Ireland by keeping herds clear of Johne’s disease, reduce the level of infection in herds, provide additional reassurance to the marketplace in relation to Ireland’s efforts to control Johne’s disease and improve calf health and farm biosecurity in participating farms. A multifaceted approach to disease control has been developed, incorporating programme elements that focus on communication, improved farmer awareness and herd level assurance activities including a veterinary risk assessment and management plan, and whole herd testing leading to an individual herd assurance score. Through an increased emphasis on biosecurity supported by testing, the IJCP provides pathways for test- negative and test-positive herds to demonstrate an improved confidence of freedom from disease. Collectively these programme elements provide the foundations for long-term Johne’s disease control, upon which farmers can build individual herd health management plans to minimise the risk of Johne’s disease introduction and spread within their herds. All herdowners who previously participated in the Pilot Programme have received an Information Pack outlining the benefits provided by registration with the IJCP. Funding supports have been provided by DAFM for an initial whole herd test and for the further investigation of animals with a positive or inconclusive ELISA test result. During Phase Two, which is expected to commence during 2018, registration with the IJCP are to be extended to all herd owners.

There has been a concerted focus on providing farmers with ready access to information about Johne’s disease and the IJCP. 23 Farmer Awareness Seminars hosted by milk processors and co-presented by Approved Veterinary Practitioners and Dairy Milk Quality Advisers have been scheduled for the last quarter of 2017.



Programme Update Johne’s Disease

Much of the second half of 2017 has been given over to ensuring the necessary supporting documents such as the Technical Manual and Farmer Fact Sheets were up to date in readiness for the commencement of the IJCP. Registration has been strong during the first six weeks of the programme, and farmer interest has been positive. By end November 2017 in excess of four hundred herdowners had registered. There has been a concerted focus on providing farmers with ready access to information about Johne’s disease and the IJCP. 23 Farmer Awareness Seminars hosted by milk processors and co-presented by Approved Veterinary Practitioners and Dairy Milk Quality Advisers have been scheduled for the last quarter of 2017. Responses from farmers attending have been positive with a number of farmers lodging expressions of interest for Phase Two of the programme. The first phase of a long-term project to improve access to ICBF herd testing and VRAMP information has been completed, with a beta version of the application currently accessible to herd owners and AVPs. The new application has enabled farmers and the supervising AVP to review herd testing history and identify animals at risk from infection. Development of VRAMP guidelines for the beef sector are progressing with an anticipated release date in the first half of 2018.



Programme Update Beef Healthcheck

Beef HealthCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie

Dr David Graham, CEO

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).











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







0.0 5.0




YB 3.0






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).



Programme Update Beef Healthcheck

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.






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. 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. % LIVE COMBINED YB % OVERALL (LIVE COMBINED)









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



Programme Update: IBR

AnimalHealthIreland.ie IBRFree

Dr Michael Gunn, IBR TWG Chairman

M eetings of the IBR Technical Working Group were held in August and November. The options for initial screening and classification of herds during an IBR eradication programme were considered at the meetings. The analysis by Teagasc of the benefits of eradicating IBR was completed in Q3 of 2017, considering the losses associated with the potential impacts of IBR due to clinical and subclinical disease, the acquisition by certain EU member states of Article 9 and Article 10 status under Council Directive 64/432 (with consequent restriction/loss of live export markets for Ireland) and reduction in the rate of genetic gain due to exclusion of potential AI sires due to IBR. The outputs of this work, when coupled with the costs of each eradication option being developed by the IG, will form the basis of a cost-benefit analysis of each and a subsequent consultation to seek a mandate to proceed to a national programme. The TWG has continued to identify and resolve knowledge gaps related to the control of IBR through published research, ongoing projects in Ireland and international collaborations. Areas addressed to date have included the age-related prevalence of carriers in Irish dairy herds, changes in seroprevalence in vaccinating dairy herds, relative performance of diagnostic tests and sample types, trends in the herd-level prevalence of IBR in dairy herds based on bulk tank milk surveillance (noting an increase in herds testing negative on bulk tank milks in the Spring of 2016 and 2017 from 21% to 28%) and the potential role of deer as a reservoir species. In support of these activities and of progression toward industry consultation and a possible national programme, a recruitment process was initiated in the Q4 of 2017 for a PhD student to develop a national IBR model (similar to that in place for BVD) and for an IBR programme manager. The EFSA Report on the categorisation of IBR within the EU Animal Health Law (2016/429) was discussed. It is believed that it will take a number of years before the Animal Health Law comes into forces and in the meantime we should deal with the control of IBR as in the current EU legislation. Preliminary discussions have taken place with representatives from Teagasc with the objective to encourage farmers in the Teagasc/IFJ Better Farms project to develop IBR control programmes for their herds.



Programme Update: BioSecurity

Dr John Mee, Biosecurty TWG Chairman

I n September, many of the members of the Biosecurity TWG were involved in preparing a grant application to the Stimulus DAFM Fund. The two-year project is entitled Surveillance, Welfare and Biosecurity of Farmed Animals. In addition, a Teagasc-UCD-AHI biosecurity project on contract rearing started in September and a veterinary Walsh Fellow PhD candidate has being recruited and the TWG has been provided with updates on this project. An article on biosecurity when dealing with abortions was published in the winter edition of Its Your Field, a publication produced for those who trained as Responsible Persons in commercial companies, Coops and industry. I presented a lecture on biosecurity which was delivered to the 4th year agricultural science student at theWaterford Institute of Technology. The most recent TWG meeting focused on the completion of a new leaflet entitled Managing a Disease Outbreak. The Johne’s Disease Programme Manager, Lorna Citer was updated on the Biosecurity TWG work. The next meeting is scheduled for March, 2018. Further information is available on the Biosecurity webpage on the AHI website, and past press publications are available on the Biosecurity press page click here .



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