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Join Our Smallholders Club!
posted on Tue, 28 Nov 2023

Join the new FVS Smallholders Club!

The Smallholders Club is perfect for those who may be new to owning livestock or for those who want to improve their knowledge and skill set. We aim to create a local network for like-minded people to share and gain knowledge. For only £20 a month, you will have access to a number of benefits to support you and your livestock.

Membership to the Smallholders Club includes: 

  • Annual vet visit*
  • Six faecal egg counts per annum
  • Three seasonal meetings including a practical session
  • Biannual club newsletter
  • Private Facebook group and email list
  • Personal vet contact

*Twelve monthly medicine check visit and general inspection as well as vet discussion - any examinations or procedures are chargeable.

To sign up click here!

TB Update: Post-Movement Testing
posted on Thu, 16 Nov 2023

It is that time of year again when the TB diary starts to get very busy! We kindly ask that you be organised and book in any tests with as much notice as possible so we are better able to fulfil your requests.

Post-Movement Testing: As of the 1st August 2023, cattle moving from higher TB incidence areas of England and Wales into the annual surveillance area of England are now required to undergo post-movement testing. Since then, APHA have kindly been sending reminders to carry out such testing when required. From the 1st December 2023, APHA will no longer be sending these reminders. As with pre-movement testing, it is your own responsibility to remember and organise the relevant post-movement TB tests.

Post movement tests must be completed 60-120 days after arrival on the holding and are arranged and paid for by yourselves.

For further information, or to work out if you require a post-movement test, visit the TB Hub website.


Bluetongue - Stay Vigilant
posted on Wed, 15 Nov 2023

Following on from recent news stating a new strain of Bluetongue had been identified in Europe, unfortunately a single cow has now tested positive for Bluetongue (BTV-3 strain) in Kent. A 10km temporary control zone has been declared around the premises where the animal was kept. Movement restrictions apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants.

We seriously urge you to remain vigilant for signs of disease, beware when buying animals in, and take action to report any signs. Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and if suspected please contact us as well as reporting it immediately to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

What is bluetongue?

Bluetongue is a viral disease affecting sheep. cattle, deer, goats and camelids. Until recently, the UK was officially free from the disease since 2011. It can be spread to the UK by infected midges which have been carried across the channel by the wind or speak can occur via infected animals, blood or germinal products. Bluetongue virus can have an enormous impact on ruminant production with losses resulting primarily from mortality, reduced production and reduced reproductive performance. Mortality rates can be high, ranging from 5%-70%. 

A comprehensive list of clinical signs seen in the different ruminant species can be found on the GOV website. Contact us if you see large numbers of your livestock presenting with lameness, high temperatures, salivation, and discharge from the eyes and nose.

Ruminant Health and Welfare are updating their site on a daily basis with resources and latest information. They have answered many common questions such as how exports and imports will be affected, vaccination and how it may impact individuals and the UK as a whole.

Also keep an eye on the GOV website for official updates. 

Smallholders Training Day
posted on Tue, 31 Oct 2023

Join us for an on-farm practical training session for all smallholder clients! We aim to show you tips and techniques for managing your livestock and introduce you to our new smallholders club! The session will be led by Jess Hulse, lead of the new club. It is free of charge and will be held on the 10th November near Oakham. Full details of time and location will be given upon sign up. Places are limited so be quick to book your spot! 

Unable to attend? Do not fear, full details of the new smallholders club will be shared soon! 

To book your place, call the practice on 01664 567481 (option 2)

Vet Attestation Requirement
posted on Mon, 23 Oct 2023

Following changes in EU legislation, from 13th December 2023, all producers selling livestock to slaughter must have had an annual on-farm veterinary visit to allow their animals (and/or part of any animals i.e offal), to be exported out of the UK.

Unless producers have evidence of a membership with a qualifying assurance scheme, they will require a Veterinary Attestation certificate to certify that a annual on-farm visit has taken place. The visit is to verify the absence of notifiable diseases and provide general advice on farm biosecurity, meeting EU requirements. Included on the certificate will be your unique Veterinary Attestation Number (VAN).

As vendors, your will be required to provide your VAN to the livestock market or slaughterhouse prior to, or on arrival.

We have already begun completing these forms for many clients. It is also a good opportunity to update your flock/herd health plans at the same time. Contact us now to schedule the completion of your vet attestation. 

Housing Cattle To Do List
posted on Mon, 16 Oct 2023

With cattle due to come in for the winter, let’s think ahead about the husbandry tasks that will need completing. Housing is an excellent time to carry out many tasks that aren’t so simple during the grazing period. Here are some of the things you may include on your own to-do list.  

  • Herd Vaccinations
  • TB Testing
  • Pregnancy Diagnosis
  • Parasite Control
  • Trace Element Investigations
  • Weight Checks & BCS
  • Assess Feet

With a list this long, the key is to be prepared! Keep reading for more detail on our suggestions.

Herd Vaccinations

Vaccinations are herd specific; we encourage having a conversation with one of our vets if you are considering vaccinating your cattle for the first time. Vaccinations will depend on pathogens present on your farm and your farming protocols. Some vaccinations to consider include, BVD, IBR, and Leptospirosis. However, for those who already have a vaccination plan in place, don’t forget to keep up with these! Most vaccines require boosters and what better time to carry these out than at housing when all of your cattle are housed and easily accessible. You can even be efficient and tie this in with other housing tasks such as TB testing and pregnancy diagnosis. 

TB Testing

Autumn/ winter is the busiest time of year for us with TB testing and - for obvious reasons -the most preferential time of year for you! We highly advise being organised, booking in any tests with as much notice as possible so we are better able to fulfil your needs and requests.

Pregnancy Diagnosis

Pregnancy diagnosis is an essential part of fertility management and housing is an excellent time for scanning spring calving herds. Using manual and ultrasound palpation, our vets are able to detect pregnancy from as early as 30 days gestation. It is the early identification of non-pregnant cattle that is most important and the recognition and treatment of fertility problems that provides economic benefit of pregnancy testing.

Parasite Control

Perhaps one of the most complex and widely talked about tasks for housing is parasite treatments. COWS (Control Of Worms Sustainably) has some really great guidance on their webpage on the steps you should be taking this autumn to protect your herd from parasites. The most important points to consider are: diagnosis and control of gut worms and liver fluke and protection against mites and lice. We have a really handy flow chart in our resources section to determine a plan of action for the parasite control of your herd.

Trace Element Investigations

Trace elements are minerals such as copper, selenium, cobalt and iodine and are essential for life.  Optimal herd performance depends on trace elements being supplied correctly; improving growth rates and fertility. By blood testing cattle at housing, we are able to assess their trace element intake from the grazing period and decide if further supplementation is required for the spring turnout.

Weight Checks and BCS

We are likely to be seeing cattle coming in from the grazing period quite a lot fatter – especially compared to last year’s poor grazing conditions! Although this is great for the store beasts, it isn’t such good news for the sucklers. Ideal body condition score at calving is 2.5-3.0. Fat cows due to calve this autumn/winter are at greater risk of prolapses and difficult calving’s due to depositions of fat narrowing the birth canal. Conversely, thin cows can also cause problems at calving too - they typically produce less colostrum and raise weak calves. Following calving, cows that are too fat or too thin are more susceptible to post calving complications as well as having poor fertility with failure to cycle and conceive. We highly recommend body condition scoring suckler cows at housing to ensure they are grouped and fed accordingly and achieve target BCS ideally 6 weeks before calving.

Assess Feet

Lameness in beef cattle is frequently overlooked but can be one of the main causes of antibiotic use in a herd. Lameness is unavoidable, but there are factors to help reduce the incidence. Firstly, spend time assessing the feet and trimming anything with long toes or mobility issues. Early identification and treatment are essential to avoid irreversible damage and spread of infection. Consider routine foot trimming with a trained professional. Bare in mind trimming should be avoided in the four weeks prior to and four weeks after calving. Secondly, ensure environmental factors favour good foot health: reduce infection pressures – winter housing can lead to a flare up of pathogens due to poor slurry management; ensure good and gentle handling facilities, e.g., reduce sharp corners.

Ultimately, all of these considerations along with good housing and infrastructure will prove to have positive impacts on animal health and productivity. If you would like to discuss anything further, please call us at the practice and your query can be directed to the right person. Should you like to read more about how to improve your housing, download the below PDF to read an issue of AHDB’s Better Returns on beef housing. They go into detail about ventilation, hygiene and a checklist on how good your buildings are.

Respiratory Disease Plans
posted on Fri, 6 Oct 2023

Ahead of autumn housing, now is a good time to get a respiratory disease plan in place to give your herd the best possible defence this period against calf pneumonia.

Maintaining a well-ventilated, draught free environment plays a vital part in preventing respiratory disease taking hold. Ensure stocking levels are correct.

Vaccinations can play an important role in protecting a herd against the infectious agents that cause respiratory disease. The most appropriate vaccination protocol should be discussed with your vet.

Lungworm are particularly prevalent in autumn and cause respiratory disease in older calves at grass. Lung damage from the parasite increases the risk of pneumonia soon after housing.

Rapid and effective treatment with an appropriate antibiotic and anti-inflammatory is necessary to ensure a rapid recovery and limit the potential negative impact on future performance.

Meet the Team
posted on Mon, 2 Oct 2023

Introducing Jim Bennett! Jim grew up on the Cotswolds where he worked on a dairy farm during secondary school. Having graduated from Nottingham Vet School, where he gained an even further interest in farm animal medicine, Jim joined the FVS team in September 2023 as a farm veterinary surgeon. He is really looking forward to developing as a farm vet with out FVS team.

Outside of work, Jim loves rugby and played for a local rugby team for five years. Since his move to Leicestershire, he as mixed things up a bit and taken up boxing at a club in Loughborough.

Jim has spent the last few weeks settling in, meeting the team and getting out on visits to meet some of you. Jim will soon become a familiar face to many, attending routine and emergency visits when required.

Meet the Team
posted on Mon, 2 Oct 2023

Introducing Sonny Vinton! Originally from Northamptonshire, Sonny graduated this year from the University of Surrey - School of Medicine and joined the FVS team September 2023 as a farm veterinary surgeon.  Following a very exciting placement spent with us over Easter, Sonny knew farm veterinary was the career for him! He is very excited to experience the busy spring period again, but this time as a qualified vet! 

Outside of work, Sonny likes to watch the F1, he enjoys DIY and carrying out maintenance and modifications on his car, walking, camping and spending time with his cat. He also enjoys technology and even built his own computer which he likes to play games on when he can.

Since starting at FVS, Sonny has been out and about on visits, meeting clients and getting to know the practice and our team. We are sure he will be out and about meeting more of you as over the next few weeks with the autumn calving season upon us and housing just around the corner.

Haemonchus Infection Warning
posted on Fri, 4 Aug 2023

Warning : Haemonchus Infection

Over the last week, we have diagnosed a number of cases of Haemonchus Contortus (Barber’s pole worm) in sheep flocks across the county.

This worm acts differently to most gut worms – it attaches itself to the stomach lining and sucks the blood from sheep, causing anaemia. In most cases, no scouring is seen but sheep become thin, weak, bottle jawed and collapse when stressed. Sudden death can also occur. Older sheep are just as susceptible as lambs.

Faecal egg counts can be used to diagnose a high worm egg count. This could indicate a concern for haemonchus. In-house faecal egg counts are available at Melton and Lutterworth. However, to identify haemonchus specifically, samples need to be sent to external labs which can mean results take slightly longer to return.

Gaining information this year can help plan your worming strategy for coming years; focusing on the right product to use at the right time.