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December 5, 2013

Elanco Kick-starts Ketosis Awareness in Scotland

“Ketosis in dairy cattle can be conquered if you are aware of its hidden dangers,” was the key message delivered by three ketosis experts during a recent, successful all-day seminar organised by Elanco Animal Health.

The exclusive event, held at the prestigious Barony College in Dumfries, attracted almost 50 dairy vets and farmers from across southern Scotland and provided attendees with a contemporary update on the complexities and true costs of the disease, as well as practical options for monitoring and prevention. The question and answer sessions were a source of lively, interactive discussions and the farm walk during the afternoon presented the perfect opportunity for a closer look at monitoring and prevention in the context of the resident dairy herd.

Subclinical ketosis is recognised as a huge problem for the dairy industry with losses of up to £500 per affected cow per year due to subclinical disease.1,2 Graeme Crawford, Scottish Key Account Manager for Elanco explains that subclinical disease is particularly problematic, “While we find that farmers know what to look for in terms of clinical disease, this is only the very tip of the iceberg and losses due to subclinical ketosis are actually even more devastating. Awareness of this hidden disease is crucial for the farmer, crucial for the cow and, ultimately, crucial for the future of the dairy industry.”

The day kicked off with Dr. Alastair Macrae, Senior Lecturer in Farm Animal Health and production at Edinburgh University, discussing the practicalities of monitoring ketosis in his lecture titled, “Why, where, when and what?” Dr. Macrae described the importance of continual monitoring for subclinical ketosis and highlighted some fundamental rules to follow, “You have to sample the right cows at the right stage in order to get reliable, worthwhile results. This means testing a representative sample of dry cows within ten days of calving and those in milk at ten to twenty days of lactation. The trick is in the timing.”

Mr Colin Mason, Centre Manager at the Dumfries Disease Surveillance Centre, cut quickly to the bottom line of the effects of ketosis on fertility describing it as the biggest contributor to economic loss. Mr Mason emphasised that it is no good waiting until these reductions in reproductive performance become apparent and that pro-active steps have to be taken to reinforce reproductive strategies in the dairy herd.

The last session of the day saw Mike Christian, Elanco Ruminant Technical Consultant, discuss how producers can reduce the incidence of ketosis in their herds, “As clinical ketosis is the tip of the iceberg, tailored monitoring and positive intervention is the only way to identify and target sub-clinical ketosis.”

The afternoon’s farm walk facilitated an in-depth look at the practicalities of ketosis prevention in the resident dairy herd, as well as providing an opportunity for members of the congregation to share their own experiences. Graeme commented, “The chance to meet with so many large herd professionals in this beautiful setting and provide such prominent expertise has been an extremely valuable opportunity that Elanco is delighted to support.”

 For more information, contact Elanco Animal Health, Lilly House, Priestley Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9NL, Tel 01256 353131, Fax 01256 779510 Email elancouk@lilly.com

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