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  • Matt Playford

Dawbuts Winter Newsletter 2017

Express Post

Dawbuts is officially rolling out Express Post! We share your frustration with the uncertainty of the post service and therefore have been working on a solution to the problem. We have completed a trial using express post satchels with promising results. Keep an eye out for these in your next order of kits.

Tips to ensure your samples reach Dawbuts quickly

  1. sign the dangerous goods aviation declaration sticker on the front of the satchel

  2. ensure satchels are posted in a yellow Express Post box or dropped at the post office counter.

Matt’s report from the 9th International Sheep Veterinary Congress in Harrogate

The town of Harrogate is regarded as the capital of the British sheep industry. Located in the sheep-dense Yorkshire Dales, it is also the home of popular author and veterinarian James Herriot. The surrounding towns once boasted hundreds of wool mills, as well as historical sites such as Fountains Abbey that was established in 1132 and grew strong and powerful on the backs of the sheep they kept.

Along with 700 other delegates from around the world who, like myself, grew up on ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, I treated the Congress as a pilgrimage, but the spiritual aspects of the visit were well-matched by the scientific and social program.

My paper was on ‘Technological advances to service sheep clients’ and the interactions with other vets and researchers gave me a new understanding of parasitology and sheep management methods.

After the conference, Sandy and I travelled to Scotland, visiting various places along the way including this sheep property in Ayrshire turning off 1,000 lambs from 600 ewes on 300 acres (photo bottom right). Shearing is seen as a bit of a chore, as they only get GBP1.50/kg for the wool and don’t bother pressing it, just stuff it by hand into wool packs and load them onto a truck. We finished in Glasgow, meeting up with both Nick Jonsson of Glasgow University and Adrian Philbey of Edinburgh University, both Aussies who are at the peak of the profession in the UK.

Please stay tuned to future newsletters to hear more about the details of the conference, including vaccinations, reproduction and a cheaper and faster way to measure worm egg counts in flocks of sheep.

New Tray Design

Dawbuts’ has a new design of sample tray used for conducting WECs. The new tray not only allows you to easily collect and hold samples from 15 different animals but also aims to minimise any mixing or cross-contamination that may occur during transit achieved by the added seal around each individual well as well as the original seal around the 15 sample wells. To maximise the potential of these trays be sure to press down around each well on the tray before posting.

Matt’s Report from the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Science Week

Each year, when the weather turns cold down south, Australian and New Zealand veterinarians head to the Gold Coast for Science Week. Apart from one wet morning, Queensland turned on a magnificent couple of days and I even managed a dip in the ocean (photo censored by Editor).

This year’s meeting of the Cattle Chapter featured two guest speakers from overseas, Vic Cortese of Zoetis (photo bottom left) and Sandra Godden of University of Minnesota.

Vic’s presentation on the immune system and vaccines was fascinating, as he presented the latest findings of his own and other’s research on boosting immune responses in cattle to decrease the chance of them getting respiratory, reproductive, gastrointestinal or systemic diseases.

Sandra presented research on calf rearing, including strategies such as heat treatment to prolong the shelf life and decrease the bacterial load of colostrum and ways to monitor colostrum intake and response in beef and dairy calves. This research was complemented by Gemma Chuck of Apiam who outlined some of the findings from her four-year project that followed 1,300 calves on 9 dairy farms and analysed correlations between early life events and production and morbidity once in the herd.

The statistical analysis for this huge project, as well as those of Masters candidates Joey Rheinberger and Rosie Waite, was overseen by the University of Melbourne’s Mark Stevenson(pictured with Matt below).

Alison Gunn from Herd Solutions in Victoria presented information on how to test and improve the immune status of beef and dairy calves.

Steph Bullen of Fonterra gave us insights into bulk milk tank residues violations and how to prevent them, as well as the influence of protein and energy in calf diets on their resistance and resilience to worms. My presentation was on worm control programs for beef and dairy farms. For more information contact us at Dawbuts.

Staff News

Hilary, our most recent addition to the Dawbuts team, is preparing for her debut in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race this year. Hilary is training most weekends with the rest of the crew from Arch Rival. Keep a look out for her in the first race of the series the Sydney to Gold Coast in the last weekend of July (only 2 weeks away!). Spot her in the photo (right) in the blue cap.

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