UK – A ‘gold standard’ in dairy calf health is aiming to fill gaps in farmer knowledge by assisting with early diagnosis.
Respiratory ailments and scours are the focus of new farmer guidelines targeting an improvement in calf health for the UK overall.
Volac has designed fact sheets and charts displaying the attributes of ‘the healthy calf’ and ‘traffic light’ diagrams showing tell-tale signs of scours and respiratory problems.
The aim is to communicate the importance of early treatment, the Livestock Event at Birmingham heard today.
Volac youngstock specialist Dr Jessica Cooke said pneumonia rates in the UK are too high, largely because of the temperate, wet climate.
The conference heard that Scandinavia is one of the best regions for calf health in the world and that British farms have become complacent at treating ‘poor doing’ calves.
Dr Cooke said: “Farmers are only picking up problems when it is already too late. With our literature, we hope to get farmers acting sooner and get veterinarians involved.”
She prescribed record keeping as a good way to keep numbers and give a percentage on death toll.
Basic record keeping could then inform decisions, she explained.
“Monitoring antibiotic usage and the number of calves that die can be really useful,” said Dr Cooke. “By monitoring calf identification, the problem and the action taken, you can track the progress and see if you are doing better than last month.”