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Lead toxicity cases highlight a need to check pastures for possible sources of poisoning

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SRUC VS disease Surveillance headlines, July 2020

  • Lead poisoning in young cattle at pasture.

  • Salmonella enterica serovar Bredeney as a cause of milk drop in a dairy herd.

  • Deaths due to urolithiasis following diet change in lambs.

  • Spotty liver disease in a flock of layers.

July was a dull, cool month in Scotland with only 84 per cent of average sunshine and a mean temperature 1.1°C below the long-term average. Rainfall was 137 per cent of average and it was wettest in the south west and north east. Sunshine was below normal in central and western counties, near normal in the east, and above normal in Shetland.

Cattle

Nutritional and metabolic disorders

An 18-month-old Jersey heifer became the fourth animal from a group of 42 to die over a few days. The heifers had been imported from Denmark two to three weeks earlier and were around six months in calf. They had been at grass since arrival but their grazing history before purchase was unknown.

Postmortem examination identified poor rumen fill and severe fatty liver. The aqueous humour beta-hydroxybutyrate result of 15.8 mmol/l (reference range <2.5 mmol/l) confirmed acetonaemia.

A syndrome of acetonaemia/fatty liver is recognised in recently imported in-calf dairy heifers, thought to be associated with multiple stressors occurring over a short time period. This may include being turned out to grass for the first time and failure to adapt quickly to this diet change. Heifers in late gestation are most frequently affected.

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 surveillance centres in Edinburgh, Perth, St Boswells, Ayr (Auchincruive), Dumfries, Aberdeen, Inverness and Thurso and in collaboration with the Moredun Research Institute and the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine.

SRUC VS monthly reports are available online at www.sruc.ac.uk/downloads/120613/monthly_reports from the first of every …

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