Looking ahead

Potential animal health issues, tasks to consider and reminders for this month include…

DAIRY

  • Drying off – make holistic decisions around when and which cows to dry off. In particular, keep an eye on cow body condition and milk production, and book in your Milk Quality Consult earlier rather than later! Feed has often been a limiting factor this season and it is important to keep a good eye on cow body condition to ensure it doesn’t drop too low. Also be aware of falling production levels and potential increased risk of cell count or inhibitory substance grades.)
  • Herd testing – bulk milk somatic cell count will be rising in late lactation. Investing in a herd test that will give very valuable information to assist in making both drying off and dry cow therapy decisions.
  • Trace element monitoring – pre-winter is a good time for liver biopsies (either standing or from culls) to ensure adequate levels of copper, selenium and cobalt are adequate.
  • Leptospirosis vaccination – autumn is a perfect time to boost your herd prior to winter (being the highest risk period). Ensure that young stock is included in this and that the interval between annual vaccinations never extends beyond 13 months. Talk to your Vet about the new Lepto 4-Way vaccine.

SHEEP and BEEF

  • Ewe mating – is now in full swing. Monitor plane of nutrition and ensure adequate ram ratios. As mating progresses continue to monitor plane of nutrition for both ewes and rams. Ensure maintenance of adequate ram ratios and that rams are active, sound and in good general health. Consider putting harnesses on for the last 10 days to identify later cyclers.
  • Planning for winter – prepare an autumn/winter feed budget and relate it to body condition score management, consider timing of winter shearing, iodine supplementation and book in your scanning.
  • Cattle pregnancy testing is a great time to check trace element status and to lepto vaccinate if needed.

DEER

  • Mating – monitor stag health and condition through mating. Keep a close eye on stags as mating progresses. Monitor general health, body condition and any signs of lameness, and act quickly at any sign of a problem.
  • Vaccinations – if fawns are yet to have their first shot for Leptospirosis, along with Yersiniavax® for Yersiniosis, plan for this now.

EQUINE

  • Planning for winter – regular hoof care will help decrease the risk of foot abscesses and timely dental checks will help ensure, particularly in older horses, maintenance of condition through winter. Air out and check straps on heavier rugs and, if not done so already.
  • If you have an older horse or pony (15 years plus) consider getting a PPID (Cushing test) as Autumn is the best time to diagnose this
  • Vaccinations – now is a good time to make sure all your horses are up to date with all their vaccinations, particularly mares that are in foal.
  • Worming – autumn is a good time to drench horses of ALL ages, with a product containing the active moxidectin to control cyathostomes which inhibit over winter, hiding from the immune system, and can cause colitis/colic. Contact your vet for recommendations regarding moxidectin-based dewormers. Fecal egg counts may also help to identify heavy shedders within the herd.