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Clostridial myositis causes multiple calf deaths in Scotland

Statistics from

SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, July 2019

  • Continuing losses due to clostridial myositis in calves

  • Sheep deaths due to haemonchosis in Aberdeenshire

  • Congenital portosystemic shunt in a Suffolk lamb

  • Outbreak of synovitis due to Staphylococcus aureus in pheasant poults

The mean temperature for July in Scotland was 1.4°C above the long-term average, and was the warmest for minimum temperature in a series since 1910. It was a cloudy and wet month with 93 per cent of average sunshine and 133 per cent of average rainfall overall.


Nutritional and metabolic disorders

Four blood samples were received from a group of four-month-old suckled calves. The calves were reported to have grown well while housed but since turnout to grass had become illthriven with a stiff hindlimb gait in some cases. Routine testing for trace elements revealed hypocuprosis with a mean plasma copper result of 2.9 µmol/l (reference range 9 to 25 µmol/l).

Parasitic diseases

A dairy herd, established via the importation of Jersey cows, experienced issues with milk drop, which resolved following administration of a bovine herpesvirus vaccine. Subsequently a number of cows presented with acute dyspnoea and pyrexia.

Faecal samples were collected to investigate the possibility of underlying lungworm infection and Dictyocaulus viviparus larvae were detected in five of six cases.

Cattle introduced from any source can be at risk of lungworm if they have failed to encounter it in previous grazing seasons.

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.

Generalised and systemic conditions

Dumfries diagnosed clostridial myositis in animals from three herds during July.

The first farm submitted one of four four-month-old calves that had …

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