Torch Farm Vets Newsletter – December 2017

Cow Ear Tags

Whilst out on farms we are seeing more and more animals with no ear tags at all….so just a quick reminder on current rules.

When a calf is born, the keeper must comply with the cattle identification regulations, which include:

  • Ensuring it is fitted with an approved ear tag in each ear
  • Applying for a cattle passport within the legal deadlines to BCMS
  • Entering the animal’s details in the holding register

What tags to use

Each animal needs one primary and one secondary ear tag, both showing the same unique individual identification number.

The primary tag must be a yellow plastic distance-readable flag tag 45 mm top to bottom and 55 mm wide. It can go in either ear. Each part of the primary tag shall only contain the following information: the Crown logo, the country code (‘UK’), the herd mark and a six-digit individual animal number.

The secondary tag must be in the other ear. It must have the same information as the primary tag, but may also contain management information; this should not affect or confuse the official identification information on the tag. Secondary tags do not have to be the same as primary tags: they can be made of metal or plastic, and of a different size or style.

When to tag new born animals and apply for cattle passports

You cannot move a calf or cow off a holding without the correct ear tags in place and without a passport (except in exceptional circumstances on welfare grounds, in which case you must apply for a movement licence by contacting BCMS). Note that you do not have to apply both tags at the same time and you can choose whether to fit the primary or the secondary tag first.

Calf Type Deadline for fitting first tag Deadline for fitting second tag Deadline for getting passport application to BCMS
Dairy Within 36 hours of birth Up to 20 days from birth within 27 days of birth
Beef Up to 20 days from birth Up to 20 days from birth within 27 days of birth
Bison Within 9 months of birth, or before weaning, whichever is sooner Within 9 months of birth, or before weaning, whichever is sooner within 7 days of birth

If an untagged animal dies before these deadlines you do not need to tag it, but you must record its date of birth and date of death against the dam number in your holding register.

If a keeper discovers an ear tag applied under these Regulations has become illegible or lost they must, within 28 days of discovery, replace it with an ear tag bearing the same number.

For more information on this subject please speak to a member of the team.


Keyhole Surgery for Cows

Laparoscopy, or keyhole surgery, is becoming an alternative technique for the correction of left displaced abomasum’s.

Here at Torch we have been successfully using this technique since 2016. Currently our farm vet Daniel (pictured here) is trained in the procedure and is actively training additional Torch vets, so we can offer this service throughout the practice.
Laparoscopy is widely seen as a less invasive type of surgery and it is already well established in human medicine. The advantages are as follows:

  • minimally invasive – only 2 very small incisions, and no suturing is needed after surgery.
  • In a well restrained animal, with minimal manipulation of abdominal organs – the whole procedure can be finished in as little as 20 mins.
  • Less stress on the animal during procedure and faster recovery afterwards.
  • No extra costs compared to standard surgery
  • Laparoscopy has been useful in assessing abdominal problems such as peritonitis thus avoiding surgery.
  • Useful for correcting displacements in animals who have secondary illnesses and are not suitable for surgery.

A little bit about the procedure:

The first incision is performed to insert the Laparoscope, which is a rigid cannula that allows the surgeon to visualise the abomasum.

A second incision is then performed to insert a metal toggle to anchor the abomasum.

The toggle is then pushed downward to secure the abomasum in its normal position.

For further details please speak to a member of the Team.


Q Scout

We recently hosted a meeting to introduce the exciting new udder health tool, Q Scout.

It  allows us to accurately and selectively determine quarters that are infected and require treatment. There are several possible uses but our primary focus is to assist decision making ahead of the dry period for implementing and refining Selective Dry Cow Therapy.

Samples will be tested with results reported on the same day offering real benefits in terms of accuracy and having quarter level results as close as possible to actual drying off dates.

Samples are taken pre-milking to avoid any dilution effect but do not need to be sterile.

How can Q Scout help?

For those already already milk recording:

– Qscout gives additional data and security

– Data is up to date (not up to 28 days old)

– Gives results accurate to Quarter level (no dilution effects)

– It is more accurate than a pooled SCC result or California mastitis Kit check

For non milk recording herds

– In addition to the above, Q Scout provides a viable option to enter into SDCT without routinely milk recording


From the Q Scout quarter level results – we can decide to dual tube all 4 quarters or possibly target just infected quarters (in close discussion with ourselves).


  • Trial results show a 59% reduction in antibiotic use when only quarters harboring mastitis at drying off receive treatment

We are offering 2 cow checks for the price of one for this pre drying off service – currently £4.50 per cow (£2.25 per test) plus a small set up/ reporting fee.

  • One check immediately prior to drying off
  • Second check 14 days post calving to monitor effectiveness of dry period strategy and cure rates.

Sample Report:

Q Scout is an addition to the range of udder health services Torch Vets Udder Health team are ready to provide

Teat Scoring Vetorapid Q-Scout SDCT (Routine) Mastitis Tracker Dairy Co Mastitis Control Plan
How is my parlour routine impacting on teat condition? What is causing my mastitis and am I treating it in an effective way? How can I best use SDCT? How am I doing and what is it costing me? Where is it coming from and how can I reduce it?


Diary Dates

  • Cow Signals Meeting

      Date TBC

  • Cow Lameness Meeting

      Date TBC

  • Lambing Courses

      Feb 2018

For more information or to book your place please give us a call


  • Lambing Club 2018

Ease those lambing stresses

One single fee to cover lambing related clinical work seen at any of our farm animal centres

For more information please give us a call

Dec 17 NL

Torch Farm Vets Newsletter – December 2017