Cattle testing history crucial to healthy herds urges chief vet for Wales

Cattle testing history crucial to healthy herds urges chief vet for Wales

Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, urged cattle farmers to demand sight of an animal’s disease and testing history before they buy or add new stock to their existing herds. Only complete and up to date testing records can give that vital assurance that a purchased animal is a healthy investment and won’t compromise the physical and commercial health of the present herd.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, Wales’ Chief Vet defined a range of measures that farmers should take to minimise the risk of infection when buying and selling cattle. Primary among those measures is the professional veterinary testing and recording of the disease status of any animal moving between herds.

Six Cattle Diseases With A Significant Impact

‘Farmers can help to protect their cattle from infection,’ said Dr Glossop, ‘starting with asking for the disease and testing history of an animal – and the herd it comes from – at the point of sale.’ Dr Glossop drew particular attention to six cattle diseases with a significant impact on the welfare of a herd and on the economic viability of a farm.

High on the Chief Vet’s list is neosporosis, caused by the parasite Neospora caninum, and the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in UK herds. Infected cattle joining a hitherto disease-free herd can pass on the parasite to their unborn calves which may then be aborted prematurely.

A Constant Risk Of Infection

The aborted material is likely to infect other animals. If the calf is born normally and survives, it will remain infected and infective for life. Because neosporosis can be transmitted through contamination with infected dog faeces even herds that have been free of the disease, and received no new animals, are constantly at risk of infection and should be monitored.

A quick and reliable test for neosporosis is available as a complete and ready-to-use kit from Vetlab Supplies. The FASTest® NEOSPORA caninum kit searches out antibodies created as part of an animal’s natural response to the invading parasite. A positive reaction with a sample of an animal’s blood offers early diagnosis and allows prompt treatment with an improved outcome for the tested animal and the chance to prevent the infection from spreading.

Safeguarding an animal’s health through professional veterinary testing and record keeping pays off not only in the economic return on the home herd, but in the value added to an animal offered for sale to another farm. Buyers who can inspect the full testing records of an animal, alongside his or her own expert judgement on its physical health, are more likely to pay premium prices.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: or Telephone: 01798 874567