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On course: cattle nutrition
  1. Lizzie Erian


‘A veterinary view on cattle nutrition’ is an online webinar series that aims to provide vets with the expertise to devise holistic herd health plans to achieve optimum dairy herd management. Lizzie Erian reviews the course.

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Who is it for?

All large animal practitioners wishing to get a better appreciation of how transition cow nutrition can be applied to the dairy herd to achieve a healthy transition period and a productive, fertile next lactation.

How is it structured?

As a three-part webinar series hosted by Elanco Animal Health. Each webinar is available for online viewing, has unlimited watch-again capabilities and lasts around 60 minutes.

Who are the speakers?

Two independent experts, Finbar Mulligan and Hefin Richards.

Dr Mulligan is a lecturer in animal nutrition at University College Dublin (UCD) and an active member of the UCD herd health group. He regularly participates in herd health investigations relating to dairy cow nutrition or production disease.

Hefin Richards is a director of Profeed Nutrition Consultancy, and an expert in ruminant nutrition, currently working with 12,000 high-yielding dairy cows from herds ranging in size from 120 to 800. His work also involves promoting a multidisciplinary approach to herd management on farm.

Webinar speakers Hefin Richards (above) and Finbar Mulligan (right)

What does each webinar cover?

▪ Webinar 1: ‘Transition cow nutrition. Basics for the large animal vet’.

Dr Mulligan discusses direct disease consequences of inappropriate transition cow nutrition and the indirect consequences that extend well into the following lactation. A practical approach to vets' involvement in planning nutrition and the key parameters of disease and nutrition to monitor are also points of focus.

▪ Webinar 2: ‘Teamwork for transition’.

Mr Richards gives an insightful and extremely useful talk on how teamwork between vets, farmers and nutritionists provides the best outcome for clients. He works through a couple of recent case studies to demonstrate how teamwork can be best achieved to maximise the return on the client's investment.

▪ Webinar 3: ‘Using nutrition to prevent disease and monitoring nutritional status’.

Dr Mulligan gives an in-depth and pragmatic talk looking at the key parameters that vets can use to assess nutritional status in dairy cows and the various tools available to do so. This includes a look at target disease incidence rates, body condition score, calcium status, energy balance pre-calving and during early lactation, rumen health and trace element status.

How do I sign up?

Go to and fill in your details.

How much does it cost?

It's free.

Is it worth doing?

In my view, this webinar series is an absolute must for any large animal vet wanting to improve their nutritional knowledge and get to grips with the progressive team approach to optimal herd health management. It's quick and easy to sign up, can be viewed and revisited at leisure and contains first-class theoretical and practical information vital to any large animal practitioner.

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