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Neonatal calves at risk of lowered immunity, diet study suggests
Researchers found that only a third (34 per cent) of calves achieved adequate colostrum status.
Small pilot study finds 13 per cent of calves in danger of FPT

New research suggests neonatal calves may be at risk of lowered immunity due to poor absorption of colostral antibodies.

Researchers from Moredun and Norvite explored the relationship between diet and neonatal calf health on eight farms.

Previous research by University College Dublin has shown over-supplementation of iodine in ewes during the pre-lambing period can cause failure of passive transfer (FTP) of colostral antibodies in newborn lambs, with detrimental effects for their immunity. However, this had not yet been demonstrated in calves.

Moredun and Norvite researchers carried out a survey of iodine supplementation on farms from Orkney to Lanarkshire. They found large variations between farms in the contribution of forage to iodine intake, highlighting the importance of farms carrying out annual forage analysis before consulting a nutritionist on mineral supplementation.

Colostrum uptake was estimated in a sample of 70 calves using zinc sulphate turbidity (ZST). Researchers found that only a third (34 per cent) of calves achieved adequate colostrum status (ZST level of 20+), while 13 per cent were in the danger zone for complete FPT (ZST <5).

According to the findings, farm six, which had the highest iodine levels, had the lowest mean ZST levels and had a history of neonatal calf disease. Meanwhile, farm seven, which had the lowest iodine levels, had the highest mean ZST and was the only farm to have no calves in the FPT danger zone.

Farmers struggling with neonatal calf disease were urged to speak to their vet about checking antibody absorption in a selection of calves under a week old this spring, and to contact a nutritionist to carry out forage analysis and mineral budget for the in-calf cows for the following year.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.