Torch Farm Vets Newsletter – March 2018

Clarifide Genomic Testing lands at Torch

Torch Vets have teamed up with  Clarifide (a Zoetis brand) to bring genomic testing of dairy heifers to your doorstep.

Compared to pedigree average analysis, the genomic test provides much greater reliability in revealing the genetic    potential of each heifer (30% reliability of PA vs 50-60% reliability of genomic results).

This test comes as a whole package with full vet support to help define the breeding aims specific to each herd and to put the results in practice.

The results include a full proof of each heifer (same as you would see on a bull catalogue), ranking of the cohort using a herd-specific index and information regarding lethal haplotype carriers  within the group.

The test is currently available for  Holstein herds and crosses (87.5% or more Holstein), Jersey and Brown Swiss.

So if you are a dairy farmer who wants to improve the profitability of the herd by tapping into the genetic potential of the best heifers on farm, get in touch with our Clarifide vets Cassandra and Sophia to start discussing a plan that will fit your herd.

Spring Clarifide offer: Buy 4 tests and get the 5th free.

There is a limit to test numbers, and to be entitled for this offer, you must be enrolled by mid March, and  samples taken by mid April. Contact us for more info

Prevention of lungworm

Recent reports have shown an increase in the number of husk cases in 2nd year grazing animals and adult cattle.

Lungworm outbreaks are mainly seen in late summer or autumn. The number of cases of lungworm has risen dramatically since the 1990s, driven by wet     summers, high stocking densities and poor immunity.

Signs in cattle range from a mild cough and slightly increased breathing rate to severe and persistent coughing and difficulty breathing. In youngstock the main effect is a depression in growth rates, leading to a longer finishing period or time to first service. In older cattle the disease can depress milk yields, compromise fertility and even kill animals.

Control strategies include vaccination, effective use of wormers and strategic grazing management.

Vaccination with Bovilis®Huskvac provides protection against lungworm when given to cattle  before they meet natural challenge on pasture, and helps effective control in herds with history of lungworm.

When you consider how much is invested in cattle  genetics and the value of first and second year grazers, it would pay to vaccinate  against lungworm especially in herds with a history of disease.

Bovilis® Huskvac on your farm:

  • Vaccinate only healthy animals of 8 weeks of age and above.
  • Primary vaccination requires 2 doses, approx. 4 weeks apart.
  • Allow at least 2 wks. from the 2nd dose to turnout.
  • Do not use wormers until 14 days after the 2nd dose of Huskvac.

Don’t lose lamb returns to ORF this grazing season

A recent study found lambs affected by Orf to be 10% lighter on average than disease-free animals after an outbreak, so failing to vaccinate could be costly.

The virus needs to get into the surface layers of the skin to cause disease, so anything that can cause damage, such as cuts or grazes, can pave the way for the virus and a disease outbreak.

Orf is a continuous threat and is quite often seen in  older lambs that have picked up skin abrasions while grazing, particularly if they have been on pastures with plenty of thistles. Thistles can easily break the skin around the mouth as the lamb grazes, and if the Orf virus happens to be present on the skin, it can then infect the animal and cause clinical signs of disease. Rough grazing, nettles, brambles and cut foliage from hedge cutting may also cause damage to the skin.

If the disease does break out at grass – and if you’ve seen Orf before there’s every likelihood that it could, simply because the virus can survive in the environment for many years – any infected lambs are less likely to finish on time.

Orf infections in any young sucking lambs can quickly spread to ewes, causing sore teats and mastitis, which can be very serious, even fatal. As well as being a   contagious disease of sheep, orf is zoonotic, causing painful skin sores in people.

Consequently, it’s well worth discussing suitable control options with your vet, if you have seen it in your flock before. So if you have experienced it on the farm, vaccination of lambs with the Scabivax® Forte vaccine is a very sound  investment indeed.

Bull fertility testing

Approximately ⅓ of bulls are sub-fertile. This will mean cows won’t get in calf as quickly and sometimes not at all.

This can have a profound effect on profitability. We can help you to  minimise the risk of bull infertility with our comprehensive bull breeding soundness examinations:

We recommend testing two months in advance of the breeding season to allow time for corrective action, if needed.

  • Pre-breeding season health and fertility check.  Are they still capable of performing?
  • New bull check. Maximise the chance of your investment being fertile.
  • Suspect animals, during the  breeding season. Identify problems in suspect animals.

The test takes 30-60 minutes and requires a crush with side door access. A physical examination followed by semen collection and analysis is used to determine the bull’s appropriateness for breeding.

For more info, please speak to a member of the Torch Team.

Diary dates

  • DIY AI Course—End of April—Date TBC.

We have some funding for beef farmers to   complete DIY AI courses There is 50% funding for farmers who fit the following criterion:

  1. Own or work full time on a beef farm
  2. Have over 30 breeding females
  3. Are gaining certification for non commercial use

Please contact your local practice to book a place.

  • Barnstaple Rugby – 21 April 2018

Our annual rugby event is fast approaching! 

Torch Farm Vets invite you to join us on 21st April for an afternoon of hospitality whilst watching the Barnstaple Chiefs take on the Worthing Raiders. Kick off is at 2:30pm but join us from 1pm for lunch and refreshments.

Spaces are limited so please call 01769 610000 to reserve your space. We look forward to seeing you there!


  • Vets vs Clients cricket match – June 18

Think you can do better than the England Cricket team? Time to dust off your whites and get practising!! 

More info to follow nearer to the time.



Torch Farm Vets Newsletter – March 2018