HFV News MARCH 2023

In this issue…

  • LUNGWORM: Are your heifers ready?
  • ANIMAL HEALTH & WELFARE PATHWAY: Have you signed up yet?

Ischaemic Teat Necrosis (ITN)

Ischaemic teat necrosis (ITN) is an emerging disease of the teats and udder that causes extreme irritation to the animal, and often leads to excessive licking and self-trauma. This can often unfortunately lead to the animal removing the teat entirely.

Freshly-calved heifers are the most commonly affected members of the herd, with 80% of cases being recorded in this group. Research is starting to show there are a huge number of inflammatory cells in the affected teats but no common risk factors found as yet - all breeds/yields/systems seem equally affected. There are no known effective cures; antibiotics seem ineffective against ITN, and it commonly leads to the animal being culled.

There are a number of other diseases of the teats that can appear similar, such as Bovine Herpes Mammilitis - but these conditions rarely cause as much irritation as ITN and clear up over time. The incidence of ITN appears to be increasing in the UK, and there are both serious welfare and economical impacts for affected herds.

Cases are usually first noticed when an area of dark, dry and crusty skin appears on the inner side of the base of the teat where it joins the udder; this then spreads over the rest of the teat and surrounding udder skin. The cause(s) are not fully understood, although there is some evidence to suggest the involvement of Treponemes - the same bacteria associated with Digital Dermatitis. The lesions do not directly cause mastitis, but an inability to milk the quarter due to the painful teat can lead to mastitis as a secondary effect.

Preventing / Dealing with ITN:

  • Make sure you routinely check the front of teats as ITN can go unnoticed here in the early stages, and this is the part of the teat most commonly affected
  • Heifers seem most at risk so make sure the teat skin in these animals is supple and healthy by using a good coverage of a high emollient post-milking teat dip
  • If on sand bedding move the cow to a straw yard - there is suspicion that the abrasive properties of sand on the teats during milking may be a risk factor for ITN
  • Some farms report improved recovery rates with the use of creams such as Sudocrem, Udder Grease and Salicyclic Acid (Aspirin) powders
  • If there is extreme irritation with excessive licking and self-trauma, use a couple of old tyres as a collar to prevent the animal from reaching her teats
Ongoing Research: There is a PhD research project currently being undertaken by the University of Liverpool to investigate the risk factors, causes and potential treatments for ITN. If you have any suspect cases please get in touch with us as the PhD students are keen to know about cases and collect samples to help with their research.


We often think of mastitis as being a risk when a cow is milking, but the dry period can be a risk too - both immediately after dry off, and around calving.

We have had a some cases of severe mastitis after dry off on a few farms recently - so here's a bit of a reminder to everyone about the importance of hygiene and protocols at dry off.

Below is a video from AHDB with vet James Breen showing how to safely administer sealants and antibiotic tubes at dry off:


  • Ideally cows need to be giving less than 15 litres at dry off
  • Don't do any other jobs with the cow on dry off day e.g foot trimming
  • Tricky to get hygiene right if you are drying cows off during milking - best to separate them out and dry them off as a separate event once the parlour has been washed down
  • Always wear a clean set of gloves, and keep them clean - the last cow needs the same level of hygiene as the first cow!
  • Make sure all cows getting dry cow antibiotic are clearly marked as treated, ideally in two ways in case a tail tape falls off
  • Always use a pre-dip and give it at least 30 seconds contact time then dry wipe this off before you start
  • Always use surgical spirit and separate cotton wool swabs to clean each teat and then flip the cotton wool over and concentrate on the end of the teat
  • Always clean "front to back" so front teats then back teats
  • If you're using antibiotic dry cow tubes, always tube "back to front" so back teats first then front teats
  • If there has been any muck contamination of the teats, get more cotton wool soaked in surgical spirit and clean front teats then back teats again before using your sealant
  • Always seal "back to front" so back teats first then front teats
  • Remember when you're using sealant to pinch the teat at the top so you're filling the teat and the sealant isn't leaking up into the udder
  • With ALL tubes, make sure you only "partially insert" the tube - this causes least damage to the muscles at the teat end
  • Never put any tubes in warm water - regardless of how cold a day it is!
  • Once the sealant is in, dip all teats with a post-dip making sure the whole teat is covered
  • Let the cows stand for at least 30 mins on clean concrete
  • Keep a close eye on cows for the first few days after dry off

LUNGWORM: Are your heifers ready?

It’s a lovely reminder that spring turnout is just around the corner when we see Huskvac start coming in and going out of the practice. Formerly known as Dictol, vaccination is our preventative tool when it comes to lungworm control.

Lungworm is caused by a parasite called Dictyocaulus viviparus which is present on a lot of cattle farms in the UK, but not all. Disease patterns can be unpredictable as weather affects how quickly the lifecycle progresses; lungworm like gut worms prefer warm wet weather.

Infected cattle pass live larvae, not eggs, in their muck and the larvae develop over a few days inside the cowpat before wriggling out onto surrounding grass or being fired out by a fungus called "Pilobolus". These larvae are eaten by other cattle and migrate through the gut, ending up in the lungs where they become adults and sit in the main airways producing eggs. These eggs are coughed up and swallowed into the gut where they hatch and are passed out in her muck.

Adult lungworms in the airways

In the UK we used to see disease from July to September but milder winters mean extended grazing seasons and we now see disease as early as May and as late as December. Lungworm can be quite dramatic if the airways are full of adults - you can get severe coughing, head outstretched, mouth breathing and deaths, but in earlier cases you hear coughing, especially when being moved.

Huskvac Vaccination

Huskvac is one of the ways we can protect cattle from lungworm - the vaccine is an oral dose of 1000 larvae that have been damaged by radiation - this means the larvae are live but harmless and builds immunity safely. It's a two dose vaccine, given 4-6 weeks apart with the second dose at least 2 weeks before turn out.

Grazing & worming after vaccination:

Immunity to lungworm is short lived so it is vital that vaccinated animals are exposed to pasture larvae in that first grazing season - don't use slow release worming boluses or long acting wormers as this can stop the natural immunity boost that is needed.

What about sheep?

Sheep can become infested with a different species of lungworm called Dictyocaulus filaria. Unlike in cattle, this parasite is rarely of clinical significance but do get in contact if you have any concerns.


What is the Review?

A summary:

"The Annual Health and Welfare Review is a government funded annual visit from your chosen vet or team of vets.

It can be undertaken whenever it works for you. It will allow you and your vet to concentrate on your animals’ specific health and welfare priorities.

During the visit, your vet will provide you with bespoke advice. They’ll also carry out some diagnostic testing around endemic diseases — these were agreed by the farmers and vets who helped to design the Pathway."

To be eligible you need:

  • 11 or more beef or dairy cattle
  • 21 or more sheep
  • have an SBI number linked to a CPH
  • be in England
  • be eligible for BPS

The amount of funding will depend on the type of enterprise you run:

  • Beef: £522
  • Dairy: £372
  • Sheep: £436

What the funding covers:

  • Annual vet visit and review of health, welfare and medicines
  • Testing must include BVD for cattle farms and effectiveness of worm treatments for sheep farms
  • Written report, agreed action points + test results

How to sign up:

There's a short form to fill in to register, you'll need your CPH and SBI number to hand. Once you've registered and been checked that you're eligible, you'll receive an email with an Agreement number - this is the number you will need to make your claim and we've then got 6 months to get you booked in for your visit.

Get ahead of the flies in 2023

Spring is now on it’s way, and it is time to start thinking about fly control for the coming summer months.

All livestock farmers will be familiar with the traditional methods of controlling flies - pour-on treatments, fly sprays in the parlour and so on. But there is a natural alternative that can help to reduce total fly numbers without the need to depend so much on chemical insecticides.


Biological fly control is used commonly on pig and poultry units, but is relatively new to the cattle industry. This method makes use of natural mini-wasps to reduce the adult breeding population and therefore reduce the total numbers of flies present on a farm throughout the year.

How does it work?

Mini-wasp eggs are delivered to your farm every 2 weeks through the fly breeding season and we distribute them into fly breeding hot spots. The mini-wasp eggs hatch over the next few days and go on the hunt for developing fly eggs. The tiny wasp burrows into the fly egg, eats the developing fly and lays her own egg in there. This means instead of a fly, you get a new mini-wasp hatching and increasing numbers of mini-wasps on farm; each female kills 100 fly eggs in her lifetime.

The parasitic wasps that we use only target nuisance flies (head, horn, stable etc) and will never target beneficial species such as Honey Bees. The species that are released do exist naturally in the UK but are not present in large enough numbers to have an impact on the large fly populations that exist around livestock units.

Starting to release the parasites right at the beginning of the fly breeding season (mid to late April depending on the weather) will allow them to have the maximum impact on the overall fly population, with regular top-ups throughout the season keeping on top of the problem. Putting the brakes on the nuisance fly population allows reduced use of insecticide products over time and can help to reduce antimicrobial usage by making diseases such as summer mastitis less likely.

Get in touch if you want any more information on how these parasitic wasps could fit into your fly strategy for 2023.


Paula: 07764 747855 paula@haywoodfarmvets.com

Tom: 07837 291097 tom@haywoodfarmvets.com

Amy: 07507 656747 amy@haywoodfarmvets.com

Enquiries: mail@haywoodfarmvets.com

Website: haywoodfarmvets.com

Open hours: M-F 08:30 - 16:30

Out of Hours: 01630 810016

Created By
Paula Scales