Keeping everyone safe on farm

by Jason Chuck, Practice Manager The tragic recent news of two experienced stock agents being killed while working cattle should serve as a warning to all people involved in the livestock industries. It is a confronting reminder of the unpredictability and danger associated with working with large animals in confined spaces, and highlights the risks that even experience and good cattle handling facilities cannot completely mitigate. According to WorkSafe, twenty seven Victorians lost their lives in workplace accidents in 2017, and fourteen of these fatalities occurred on farms. These accidents often occur while doing routine tasks that the victims have done countless times before, and according to Adam Watson, head of operations and emergency management at WorkSafe, they often occur due to a failure to properly identify and manage workplace hazards. Cows and bulls are the second-most likely causes of animal-related deaths of people in Australia. Falls from horses are the most common animal-related deaths for people, with dog-related deaths third, according to National Coronial Information System data. (The Age, 4th January 2018) There are numerous resources online to support farm owners and managers in identifying safety hazards on farm, and managing the likelihood and severity of these risks. General principles to follow include: Identify hazards on your farm. This is best done in consultation with staff and contractors who regularly work on site, and needs to be an ongoing process. Set up a method for those who work on your farm to report hazards as they are discovered, such as ineffective or broken equipment, live exposed electrical wires or dangerous animals. Assess the risk for each hazard. A...

Bovine Pestivirus (BVDV) and mucosal disease in cattle

by Dr Charlie Blackwood Bovine pestivirus and Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVDV) are the same disease – different people call it different things. We will call it BVDV in this article. BVDV is one of the most complicated cattle diseases we deal with. Don’t worry if you need to ask or read articles a few times to understand the disease. We often do as well. BVDV can be a serious threat to dairy farm production and profitability. This article, some of which comes from the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, explains the effect of BVDV on different groups of animals. Table 1: What immunity status definitions mean Naïve Never infected Cattle that have never been infected or challenged by BVDV. They have no antibodies to the virus. Immune Have been infected but are not carriers Cattle that have been infected with BVDV but are not carriers. They have antibodies and are immune to future infections. There are two ways this immunity can occur: infection as BVDV circulates through the herd – immunity is lifelong (‘natural immunity’) vaccination – annual boosters needed to maintain immunity. Persistently Infected (PI) Carriers Carriers of BVDV secrete the virus for their entire life. They exhibit variable signs and degree of disease and most die 1–2 years after birth. The calf of a persistently infected heifer or cow will also be persistently infected. Persistently infected bulls are also potent spreaders of BVDV. What happens when BVDV occurs? The effect of BVDV depends on whether it occurs in unborn calves, pregnant cows, feedlot or other cattle. Unborn calves Most of the harm done by BVDV is to...

Watch out for grass seeds!

By Dr Mark Lewis BVSc In the spring and summer months we often have dogs presented to us with problems caused by grass seeds. Just one of these simple and apparently harmless seeds can in fact cause severe health problems and in the country our pets come into contact with millions of them each spring and summer! The shape of grass seeds means that they move forwards and a grass seed left embedded in the coat will quite quickly penetrate through the skin. Once the grass seed has pushed through the skin it will track its’ way along through the body causing infection and tissue trauma. After playing in the grass dogs will often have grass seeds lodged in their coats, the most common place for grass seeds to lodge is between the toes on the paws but they can also lodge in other areas. It is very important to check your dog all over, with special attention to the area between the toes after he or she has been walking through long grass. If a grass seed enters the paw it will then move up the leg causing swelling and lameness. The other common place for grass seeds to cause problems is in the ear shown in the photograph on the left. If a seed lodges in the hair near the ear canal it will move down the actual ear canal until it reaches the eardrum. If the grass seed is left in the ear too long it will then rupture the eardrum and enter the middle ear. At this stage there is often irreversible damage. When a...

MOvember at Warrnambool Veterinary

MOvember is here! The men of Warrnambool Veterinary have teamed up with the Movember Foundation to change the face of men’s health! Movember is a fun initiative that supports men’s health. The program began in 2003 with 30 people taking part in a pub in Melbourne to over 5 million now. Countries involved span the globe including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA. Over 1200 men’s health projects have been funded since its inception and we would like to be active and be part of Movember in 2017. These gents will each grow a moustache during the month of November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health—specifically testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Here they’ve started with a clean shave, and “mo” updates will be posted throughout the month. To learn more about the Movember Foundation and to support the WVC team, go...

De-sexing your pet – when and why?

De-sexing your cat or dog is a part of responsible pet ownership in the community and also has many benefits for the pet and for the owner. Thousands of healthy unwanted dogs and cats end up in shelters across the country each year due to unplanned litters. Many of these animals are unfortunately euthanased or spend extended periods of time living in an animal shelter. The de-sexing procedure involved the removal of the testicles in male animals and the removal of the entire reproductive tract (ovaries and uterus) in female animals. In this article we will explore many of the health benefits that de-sexing can have for your pets. Male Cats and Dogs De-sexed male cats are far less inclined to roam and fight, and have less behavioural problems such as urine spraying which occurs in entire male cats. Cat fights are commonly associated with cat fight abscesses, wounds and infections which are a very common presentation to our vet clinic. Cat fights also result in the transmission of FIV – Feline Aids Virus.  Entire male cats are also contributing to the overpopulation of unwanted litters of kittens in the community. De-sexed male dogs are also less likely to roam and get lost, be impounded or hit by cars. They are less likely to have testosterone driven aggression problems and other behavioural problems, although de-sexing later in life may not alter these problems. Older entire male dogs commonly have prostatic problems, such as an enlarged prostate which can cause difficulty passing urine or constipation. These dogs are also more likely to develop perineal hernias.  There are also some cancers...

Is your dog scared of the vet?

by Dr Rebecca Faris How to make your next veterinary visit a happy one. Most dogs that visit the vet clinic are well behaved and seem unconcerned by the physical examination. However, some of our pets are more anxious about their visits and may become aggressive towards clinic staff. This isn’t a pleasant experience for the dog, the owner or the staff member and can make a complete examination impossible, meaning your pet may not get the treatment it needs. Prevention is the best option to ensure our pets are happy and relaxed at the vet clinic however if your dog is already showing signs of anxiety then it may be possible to counter-condition them for future veterinary visits. How do I know if my dog is anxious? When we talk to other humans we sub-consciously read their body language to tell us if they are happy, comfortable or scared.  Dogs also use body language cues to tell us their feelings.  These dogs are warning us that they are scared and if we persist they will probably bite us! Some of these signs include: Ears pulled back Dilated pupils Tail between the legs Cowering/Trembling Hair raised along the back Growling/snarling Snapping/biting How do I know if my dog is aggressive? Some dogs are not just fearful or anxious at the vet but are overtly aggressive. This may be because they are aggressive in other situations or they have learned that this behavior results in removal of the cause of distress. These dogs are not necessarily more dangerous than anxious dogs as they usually give more warning of an attack,...