Uralla Veterinary Tales

Uralla Veterinary Tales

Are you J-BAS Prepared? Don’t get caught out!

Significant changes in the approach to Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD) are underway. As of June 2016 the BJD MAP program was abolished and since then there has been a 12 month transition period to an industry based assurance system. This new system is known as the Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) and is to be used as a guide as to the risk a property may have BJD. A score of 0 indicates an unmanaged risk, whereas a score of 8 indicates a high level of assurance a herd is BJD free

During the transition period all herds in Beef only or protected zones were assigned a score 7. Local beef producers need to be aware that if they do nothing before June 30th this year they will revert back to a J-BAS score of 0 on July 1st 2017. This could significantly impact on your intended market if buyers require a level of assurance they are buying BJD free stock.

To keep a J-BAS score 6 producers need to implement a biosecurity plan prior to July 1st 2017 and this plan needs to be maintained. For help creating your own biosecurity plan please visit this site: https://www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Grazing-Manual-Biosecurity-Form_fillable.pdf

To keep a J-BAS score of 7 or 8 farmers need to construct a biosecurity plan in conjunction with their veterinarian and undertake a sample testing.  A score of 8 is needed to export cattle to Western Australia.

Please contact the clinic if you have questions or would like to maintain a level 7 or 8 J-BAS, this page has more information on J-BAS scores. https://www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/J-BAS_April-2017-2.pdf


Photosensitization in Sheep

We have had several reports of photosensitization in sheep over the last couple of weeks. There are a number of causes of photosensitization, it can be caused by eating plants that contain light sensitive substances (e.g. St John’s Wort, Spring Parsley/Wild Carrot), by liver damage from toxins (e.g. fungal affected pasture, several Panicum sp, fireweed etc.) and also from as yet unknown causes (e.g. oats, wheat and some Brassicas).  The most recent cases had been grazed on oats.

Affected sheep will avoid sunlight as much as possible and appear uncomfortable. Redness and then swelling of white haired or hairless regions such as the ears, eyelids, nose and lips. If at this stage animals are removed from the sun these symptoms will resolve fairly promptly, however if affected animals are still exposed to the sun, they will go on to develop blisters, ulcers and then scabs which will eventually peel off like a terrible case of sunburn.

There is no specific treatment for photosensitization. Getting affected animals out of the sun (e.g. under the shearing shed) is the most important thing you can do, and if possible move the rest of the mob off the suspect pasture. Sometimes anti-inflammatories and antibiotics can be of use. Have hay or dry pasture and water available for affected sheep, and keep an eye out for fly strike.


Bull Breeding Soundness Exams

There have been some fantastic pregnancy rates in our region’s cattle this season and most farmers will be looking forward to a bumper calving season. This is a very welcome change after the tough seasons we have just been through!


With the bulls not that long out and the frosts only just starting to bite, planning your next joining is probably well down the list of priorities at the moment, but planning ahead can help save you a last minute panic, save you money and help ensure the fertility of your herd is at its best.


The single biggest impact on your herd’s fertility are your bulls, so it makes sense to ensure your bulls are in top working order before joining. A bull breeding examination by your vet is the best way to ensure the bulls you are using are capable of performing.


A bull breeding exam can include all or some of the following depending on your individual requirements: scrotal circumference measurement, a general physical exam (including examination of hooves and gait) and examination of the reproductive tract, serving ability assessment, a crush side semen assessment and sperm morphology.

Bull Breeding Soundness Exams cont ….

An investigation into previous herd fertility issues can also be undertaken if required (e.g. we can now test for pesti (PI animals) on site).

It is essential your property has a sturdy crush in good working order for us to safely do a full physical exam on your bulls.

For our clinic to legally prescribe prescription only medications such as antibiotics we must have recently (i.e. within the last 12 months) seen your stock or visited your property. A bull fertility visit or routine preg testing are perfect opportunities for you to meet these requirements!




Mitigating metabolic mayhem

Last spring we saw a lot of metabolic disease in both cattle and sheep. A “perfect storm” of conditions lead to the worst outbreaks many farmers have seen for decades.

During winter we saw a lot of pregnancy toxaemia in sheep and negative energy states in heavily pregnant cows. This was mainly due to the poor autumn and winter and the heavily pregnant animals just couldn’t eat enough energy to meet the demands of late pregnancy and maintaining body temperature in cold, wet, windy weather.

Later in winter and into spring we saw large numbers of pregnant and lactating stock affected by milk fever (low levels of blood calcium) and grass tetany (low levels of blood magnesium). These stock were mainly being grazed on young fast growing cereal crops or grass based pastures. This fast growing pasture has a high water content and tends to be low in mineral content, this combined with the extra metabolic demands of lactation and just trying to maintain warmth in cold wet conditions increases the risks of metabolic disease dramatically.

Now is the time to start preparing for spring and calving/lambing time. Try and ensure pregnant stock have enough feed to maintain their body condition through winter rather than losing condition. I would consider starting your stock on a mineral supplement well before spring – there are many propriety products, but a loose lick of equal parts aglime, salt and causmag will provide stock with the calcium and magnesium they need.

Calving and lambing down in paddocks with adequate shelter will help also. A good tree break will reduce the wind chill and thus help reduce the metabolic requirements of at risk stock during our hard winters.



























116 Bridge Street, Uralla 2358

02 6778 3133