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Mineral drench inhalation as a complication of dosing in young lambs

Statistics from

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, May 2019

  • Frothy bloat causing multiple deaths in dairy calves at grass

  • Chemical pneumonopathy in young lambs secondary to inhalation of copper-containing drenches

  • Deaths due to Histophilus somni septicaemia in sheep

The mean temperature for May in Scotland was 0.5°C below the long-term average. It was a wet month in the north east, but drier in the south west, which was also the brightest area. Overall, Scotland had 125 per cent of average rainfall and 95 per cent of average sunshine.


Nutritional and metabolic disorders

Dumfries diagnosed frothy bloat as the cause of seven sudden overnight deaths in a group of 130 12-week-old dairy calves. The group had been turned out at six weeks of age and compound feed had been provided for the first three weeks. The calves were strip grazed on heavily fertilised ground, with the fence moved every evening.

Three calves were submitted for postmortem examination and the abdomens were noted to be distended despite the carcases being fresh. A clear bloat line (Fig 1) was noted in the oesophagus in all cases, confirming that bloat had occurred before death, and the rumen content was foamy.

Fig 1: Oesophageal bloat line as a consequence of ruminal bloat in a 12-week-old dairy calf

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.

SRUC VS suggested delaying turnout and continuing to provide supplementary feeding for a longer period. Allowing the calves access to fresh grazing in the morning, rather than the evening, was also advised to allow them to be monitored for signs of bloat and treated if necessary.

Generalised and systemic conditions

A yearling Limousin cross stirk was pyrexic for one week before death …

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