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Treatment failures lead to multiple deaths from ostertagiosis in dairy youngstock

Statistics from

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, September 2018

  • Losses due to type 1 ostertagiosis in dairy youngstock at grass.

  • Outbreaks of autumn nematodirosis in lambs.

  • Deaths due to Yersinia pseudotuberculosis septicaemia in turkey poults.

The mean temperature in Scotland in September 2018 was 0.4°C below the 1981 to 2010 average. It was a wet month in the north west, with many places having over 150 per cent of average rainfall, but was much drier in Aberdeenshire. Overall, rainfall was 128 per cent of average and sunshine was 99 per cent of average.


Nutritional and metabolic disorders

A group of 40 cows with calves at foot was gathered in order for the cows to be scanned. All the animals appeared healthy when returned to the field but a well grown five-month-old Simmental cross calf was found dead the next morning.

The carcase was submitted to Dumfries for postmortem examination where the most significant finding was sticky grey rumen content with the consistency of wet cement. The rumen pH of 5.2 was considered significant as 48 hours had elapsed between the animal being found dead and the postmortem examination being carried out. Ad libitum creep feed had been available and it was suspected that this calf had eaten an excessive amount on being returned to the field.

Parasitic diseases

Type 1 ostertagiosis was diagnosed as the cause of death of dairy youngstock on three farms.

About this report

This monthly summary is produced for Vet Record by Scotland’s Rural College Veterinary Services (SRUC VS) and is based on reports from its centres in Edinburgh, Perth, St Boswells, Ayr (Auchincruive), Dumfries, Aberdeen, Inverness and Thurso and in collaboration with the Moredun Research Institute.

SRUC VS monthly reports are available online at from the first of every month.

The first case involved a group of 23-month-old Holstein heifers that had failed to thrive since returning from wintering in spring. …

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