The Veterinary Centre

Strand Street, Kanturk

029 50888

24/7 Customer Support

Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 18:00

Sat. 9:00 - 17:30 Closed Sun.

Pet Services

Every pet that comes in for treatment receives a full clinical exam by one of our experienced vets. By doing this, and listening to your concerns, we’re able to make a diagnosis and help get them on the road to recovery. Your pet should have a veterinary examination at least once a year. This will help to detect and prevent any medical problems before they become a major issue.

Most responsible pet owners will make some sort of financial provision for caring for their pet if they get sick or injured.  This is something you seriously need to be aware of before you buy a puppy or even take on a cross-breed from a rescue shelter.

All pets get sick at some point in their lives and on average, according to research, dogs have at least three major medical catastrophes in their lives. Recent research suggests that crossbreds in fact are just as likely to get ill as a pedigree – they often have those same genes that heighten the risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis or cataracts, for example. That’s why insurers now want to know what the dominant breed is in a crossbred dog when you are insuring them.

We are not going to beat about the bush on the thorny issue of veterinary fees – they are steep. If you’ve ever had a veterinary bill, you will know this. Veterinary fees have doubled in the last ten years and most research suggests they will increase further.

If you are thinking of taking your pet on holidays with you to Europe or beyond, we can help you obtain a passport. This involves your pet getting a Complete Health Check, Microchip, Rabies vaccination,  Blood test to show the vaccination has worked and then the passport itself. Contact us for more precise details on how and when to do this if you intend on travelling.

Vaccinations are an important part of a kitten’s life, to give them the best protection against infectious diseases.

When do I vaccinate my kitten?

The first vaccination is given at 8 weeks, followed by a second 3-4 weeks later. It is important kittens do not come in contact with unvaccinated cats or outside areas until 2 weeks after the second vaccination. This gives their immunity time to develop before they become exposed to any disease or illness.

What is my kitten vaccinated against?

Kittens are vaccinated against two types of Cat Flu, Feline Enteritis and Feline Leukaemia Virus. If you would like some more information on these diseases, please speak to one of our vets or nurses.

When should I come to the surgery?

You can make an appointment by phone, email or on our website. We have slots available at different times throughout the day during the week, and on a Saturday morning, so you can choose a time that suits you. You can make a pre vaccination appointment with our nurse, should you need any advice on looking after your new kitten.

Why does my kitten need an annual booster?

One vaccination will not provide life long protection. The length of time one vaccination protects for, will vary between individual animals. We know for sure, that when vaccinated according to the manufacturers instructions, our cats will be protected for 12 month.

Vaccinations are a very important start to your puppy’s life, just like children, they are vital in giving your pup the best protection against infectious diseases. These include Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Canine Parainfluenza. If you require any more information on any of these diseases please feel free to talk to one of our vets or nurses about them.

When do I vaccinate?

Young pups are protected by immunity from their mothers, but this starts to decline rapidly around 8 weeks. By vaccinating pups once at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks, we provide them with protection against the major puppy diseases.

When can I bring my puppy to the surgery?

You can make an appointment for a time that suits you by phoning the surgery (Tel: 029 50888) or emailing us. We have routine appointments available at different times each day during the week and on a Saturday morning.

Why do I need to vaccinate every year?

One vaccination will not provide life long protection, and the length of time that vaccinations protect, varies between individual animals. We know for sure, that when vaccinated according to the manufacturer’s instructions, our dogs will be protected for 12 months. After this we cannot be sure the dog is still protected, and so we recommend annual boosters.

Somewhat similar to neutering dogs,the benefits of neutering female cats include preventing unwanted litters of kittens – a female cat can have 2-3 litters in a year. It will also prevent heats which can be quite distressing for owners to see as the female cat’s behaviour can change dramatically. Neutering a male cat will reduce fighting, roaming and spraying – unneutered male cats will spray urine around the house – this smell is very difficult to remove. Through bite wounds, unneutered cats are at a much higher risk of picking up serious disease such as abscesses, Feline Leukamia and Feline Aids.

A neutering operation is a surgical procedure to prevent your pet from breeding. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and even pet rats and mice can be neutered. In a male animal, neutering involves surgical removal of the testicles and in a female dog it involves removal of her ovaries and womb (an ovariohisterectomy).

In a male dog this is also known as castration. In a female dog this is also known as spaying.

Why should I neuter my female dog?
  • To reduce the risk of mammary cancers and ovarian / womb cancers
  • To eliminate the risk of womb infections (pyometra) which are common in middle aged and older females
  • To prevent phantom or false pregnancies – these can be quite distressing for the owner and the dog
  • To avoid the risk of difficult labours or Caesarian sections.
Benefits for the owner of neutering a female dog
  • To prevent her having unwanted puppies or kittens which can sometimes be difficult to get homes for
  • To prevent her coming into heat – this can be messy for indoor dogs
  • To avoid unwelcome male visitors – you could have a number of potential male canine suitors sitting on your doorstep when you bitch is in heat
  • To prevent her from roaming when she is in heat – this can be dangerous if you live close to roads
  • To prevent her from urinating excessively to scent mark
Why should I neuter my male dog?
  • To stop him roaming the countryside looking for females in heat
  • To stop him jumping up on my leg – this mounting behaviour can be embarrassing especially if there are visitors of children around
  • To eliminate the risk of testicular cancer
  • To reduce the risk of prostate disease
  • To stop him scent marking around the house or lifting his leg against every lamp post when you are out walking
  • To reduce aggression towards other dogs and people
  • To calm him and reduce boisterous behaviour
Is there any downside to neutering my dog?
  • Surgery always carries a risk but with modern facilities this risk is minimal
  • Some dogs may gain weight but with the correct diet and exercise routine this risk is avoided
  • In some breeds, neutering the female too early can increase the risk of urinary incontinence – for Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Rottweilers, Old English Sheepdogs and their crosses, we recommend neutering after the first heat
  • In some giant breeds, neutering too early can increase the risk of cruciate disease

The vets will talk you thoroughly through the neutering decision and guide you as to the best options for your breed and their lifestyle and the correct timing of the operation.

Are there any non surgical options to stop dogs breeding?

Yes – There is an injection available which can end your dog’s heat quickly or postpone her heat.

What happens if my bitch gets pregnant or gets caught by mistake?

There is a series of 2 injections 24 hours apart which will end the pregnancy – this can be adminstered up to day 42 of pregnancy although we recommend to give it after the heat is finished and preferably before day 22 of pregancy for best effect. You have to make the decision as to whether or not you think this is right for your pet. If your bitch is in late pregnancy it is better to let her have the pups.

Rabbits are now the third most popular mammalian pet, after cats and dogs. As a result of their increasing popularity more research has been done on their health issues. There are three diseases which are seen frequently in rabbits, two of which are caused by viruses which can be vaccinated

  • Myxomatosis
  • VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease)
Myxomatosis (Myxo) 

The virus which causes myxo is a type of pox virus which grows in the skin of rabbits. It is spread by blood sucking insects, in Ireland, the flea is known to be a carrier of myxo. Myxo can live in the blood of these insects for many months. When the insect bites the rabbit it leaves behind a small amount of the virus in the  skin as it sucks the blood. Within a few days the virus passes into the blood of the rabbit. Sometimes it can be as much as two weeks, from the introduction of the virus, before any outward signs are seen that the rabbit is unwell. The symptoms are severely inflamed eyes with a discharge and as the disease progresses swollen face, discharge from the nose and difficulty in breathing. Some rabbits can survive for weeks or even months after becoming infected but in general a severe infection of myxo will result in death within two weeks.

VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease) 

This disease was first reported in Ireland in 1992, it has now spread throughout the country and several thousand of rabbits have died from it. This is a particularly nasty virus which is easily spread. VHD can be transported by people, it is known to survive on clothing for at least three months. It can also be spread between rabbits, via contaminated hutches, bedding or food. The symptoms are loss of appetite, nose bleeds, internal bleeding in the lungs, gut and urinary tract. Death, in about 50{9f6edfbc133f0431aa50010005162f0dda9c698342b047fab683d0dcc8a83af0} of cases, occurs very quickly sometimes without the owner ever knowing there was anything wrong.

Vaccination of your rabbit against these two infectious diseases is carried out when the rabbit is over 6 weeks old. The vaccine protects your own pet and prevents it from being a carrier of disease and spreading infection. Immunity to these diseases does not last indefinitely so regular updates are vital to maintain this.

Once your rabbit has had its vaccinations you will be given a vaccination certificate which will have your pet’s details on it, the dates the vaccines were given and when the next one is due. This certificate is important, especially if you are going on holiday and you require someone to look after your pet. Some boarding kennels and catteries cater for rabbits as well as dogs and cats. Many of these places will not accept your rabbit unless you can show this certificate and it is up to date. 

Male and female rabbits are neutered to prevent spraying urine and to calm them. Neutered rabbits make much nicer pets and can also have a companion without the risk of any unwanted baby rabbits. Female rabbits can be aggressive and bite owners – neutering them will stop this, as well as eliminating the risk of ovarian and womb cancers. We neuter rabbits at around 4-6 months of age. Rabbits generally do not get fasted before their operation.

Getting Your Pet Ready for the Procedure

We know and understand that you may worry about the operation so here are a few guidelines about out routine neutering procedure….

  1. Please make sure your pet is fasted from around 8pm the evening before (do not fast rabbits) but allow water up until the morning of the operation.
  2. Please make sure your pet’s coat is clean to reduce the risk of infection.
  3. Please make sure your cat has had access to a litter tray and that your dog has had a short walk to empty his / her bladder and bowels.
  4. On arrival the vet will carry out any pre-operative checks. We may recommend a routine blood screen to check your pet’s internal health before the operation – this is particularly important in older pets. There may be other health issues which may require attention during the operation such as microchipping, nail clipping, ear cleaning, scent gland emptying, hernia repairs or teeth cleaning. Please remind the vet/receptionist if there is anything else you thing may need doing.
  5. You will then be asked to sign a consent form which gives us permission to carry out the operation, act in your pet’s best interest if you are unavailable and to show that you understand the risks involved, however minimal. Don’t forget to leave a contact number with the nurse/receptionist in case we need to speak to you about anything through the day.

Wound management

  • Closure of complicated and contaminated wounds such as bite wounds, gun shot wounds and road traffic accident wounds.
  • Elective – for example neutering, dental hygiene, lump removal.
  • Necessary for treatment – for example removal of stones from bladder or a swallowed sock from the intestine!

Each of our surgery patients undergo a Pre-Anesthetic Health Check with the Vet, possibly followed by blood biochemistry to ensure that they are fit for anesthetic, and that the appropriate anesthetic agents are chosen.

Our Human Grade Gas Anesthesia allows for a safe and quick recovery from surgery. All anesthetics are monitored. Following the surgery, our patients are monitored regularly while they recover, and are mostly discharged on the same day with appropriate medicines.


Dental disease in dogs and cats is extremely common. Signs your pet may have a problem include bad breath, red gums, drooling, difficulty eating and discoloured teeth.

Speak to a vet for advice about maintaining and improving your dog or cats dental health.

Food Animal Services

  • Routine call out service
  • Emergency call out service
  • Herd Health Management
  • Herd Screening for infectious agents (blood and milk sampling)
  • Herd Screening for mineral imbalances
  • Herd Screening for negative energy balance
  • Milk Record Analysis including investigation of high SCC herds
  • Fertility work including pre breeding scanning, scanning for pregnancy and investigation of infertility
  • Neonatal calf disease investigation
  • Advice on dosing
  • Advice on respiratory vaccines
  • ICBF record analysis
  • T.B. and Brucellosis testing
  • Caesarian section bovine and ovine, elective and emergency
  • Displaced abomasum right and left
  • Caecal dilation and torsion
  • Rumenotomy
  • Claw amputation and growth removal from between claws
  • Tibial neurectomy (for spastic paresis)
  • Perineal Urethrostomy (for male animals unable to urinate)
  • Open surgical castration
  • Vasectomy
  • Routine stitch up
  • Dehorning

Animal Diseases

Bovine pneumonia or Bovine Respiratory Disease is a devastating condition affecting cattle of all ages. It is the most common cause of mortality in all ages of cattle except young calves. It is most often associated with the assembly of large groups of cattle from diverse origins. The disease is of considerable economic significance in feedlots, it is responsible for a high mortality rate and the condemnation of infected carcasses at slaughter.

The most important infectious agents involved are viruses and bacteria. They are as listed: Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus (IBR) Mannheimia haemolytica Bovine respiratory syncitial virus (BRSV) Pasteurella multocida Bovine parainfluenza 3 virus (PI3) Haemophilus somnus Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVD) Mycoplasma spp Chlamydia spp. Salmonella spp. Parasites occasionally contribute to clinical disease.

Antibiotics can be used to combat bacteria but are ineffective at fighting viruses.

Proper animal management helps to make outbreaks of respiratory disease self-limiting and even clinically unapparent. Stress, poor nutrition, and high worm burdens render animals more susceptible to outbreaks of respiratory disease, by their negative impact on host immune status. The bacteria Mycoplasma spp. and Chlamydia spp. are considered significant predominantly in younger stock.

Respiratory disease in cattle is rarely caused by a single agent – it becomes a more complicated problem to solve when you are dealing with two, three or more agents. Knowing the problem allows you to solve it.

Signs relating to Respiratory Disease
  • Fever (as high as 42 C)
  • Depression, laboured breathing and increased respiratory rate
  • Loss of appetite and cough
  • Reddening of the mucous membranes
  • Nasal discharge – Initially watery and later may become purulent
  • Conjunctivitis – runny eyes
  • Drop in milk production

Control of Bovine Respiratory Disease is based on four equally important aspects:

Vaccination – The use of vaccines confers clinical protection and more importantly reduction of the pathogen circulation. Due to the complex cause of the disease, multivalent vaccines are preferred.

Management – Reduction of circulating viruses and bacterial shedding can be achieved with careful attention to detail. Significant issues in need of address include ventilation in housing, drainage, mixing of age groups, overcrowding and parasite control. Isolation of clinically affected cases and treating with an appropriate antibiotic can also limit losses.

Biosecurity – Maintaining biosecurity involves avoiding introduction of infected animals into the herd and/or implementing stict isolation / quarantine of introductions until proven negative, and restricting access of livestock to external sources of infection e.g. double fencing is in place at all perimeters, considering carefully sources of biological materials such as embryos, semen etc.

Treatment – Therapy is limited to the use of antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory drugs. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections.

Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) is most common in young cattle (6–24 mo old). The clinical presentation can range from inapparent or subclinical infection to acute and severe enteric disease to the highly fatal mucosal disease complex characterized by profuse enteritis in association with typical mucosal lesions. BVD must be distinguished from other viral diseases that produce diarrhea and mucosal lesions.

Treatment of BVD remains limited primarily to supportive therapy. Control is based on sound management practices that include use of biosecurity measures, elimination of persistently infected cattle, and vaccination.

BVD – like any viral disease – is not treatable. Affected animals suffer severely from the infection. The disease can cause a variety of clinical symptoms, including immunosuppression (i.e. the reduced activity of the immune system to fight back other pathogens), infertility, abortions and congenital defects in calves. Some animals may develop a more severe condition known as mucosal disease, the result of which is a high mortality rate in affected animals.

BVD also has a heavy economic impact on cattle farmers due to decreased weight gain, decreased milk production, reproductive losses, or even the death of the infected animals. Most of the animals show symptoms that can be confused with other diseases; this makes the detection and control of this concealed disease even more complicated.

Clostridia are the oldest known disease causing agent (pathogen) affecting livestock and other species. They are not contagious but are highly infectious and are ubiquitous worldwide.


Bacterial spores are found in soil and enter the animal via the oral route. They lodge in the spleen, liver and intestine of normal animals. Subsequently they proliferate under some unknown stimulus and cause disease. Animals at risk are mainly cattle between 6 months and 2 years that are rapidly growing on a high nutrition plane. Disease can sometimes occur in sheep. It is a gangrenous disease of muscle and can be caused by a variety of clostridia as follows:

  • “True” blackleg = Cl. chauvoei
  • “False” blackleg = Cl. septicum and Cl. novyi
  • Often see the three clostridia in combination

This organism, C. tetani is found in soil and manure. When it is taken in by infecting a deep wound or (rarely) orally, it can proliferate and produces a potent toxin affecting the nervous system. Variable species sensitivity exists with horses the most sensitive and cattle the least. Examples of common entry points include via deep puncture wounds, sole punctures, parturition tears, post castration and docking and after the use of elastrators. Disease is usually sporadic and outbreaks are rare.

Clinically tetanus is characterized by hyperaesthesia (they over-react to touch), prolapsed 3rd eyelid, restricted jaw movement, tetany (muscle rigidity) and ultimately convulsions. Clinical signs of tetanus may not appear for days or weeks following tissue inoculation. Affected animals will demonstrate muscle stiffness that progress to tremors and a stiff gait. A saw horse stance may develop and animals may fall and be unable to rise. Cattle will typically develop bloat and can die in five to ten days if left untreated. Animals often die due to asphyxia. Clinical pathology testing and necropsy will seldom yield a definitive diagnosis. The incubation time can be days to weeks.

Malignant Oedema

Caused by C. septicum (or occasionally C. chauvoei) which is found in gut and soil, this disease results from contamination of tissues due to deep penetrating wounds becoming infected with this bacterium. The organism proliferates in poorly perfused damaged tissue and elicits toxins which cause mortality – the animal is often just found dead. On post mortem examination tissues may be oedematous, with emphysema, malodour and swelling obvious.

Black Disease

This disease affects young adult sheep or occasionally cattle usually aged 1 to 4 years. Once taken in orally the organism lodges and waits in liver. Liver damage, caused by immature fluke tracking through, initiate disease.
Clinical Signs include stiffness, severe depression and sudden death. It most often occurs in acute fluke season though can occur sporadically at other times, especially in cattle. Clinical disease lasts 1 or 2 days and findings on post mortem examination include rapid putrefaction of carcass with black discoloration under the skin.

Clostridium perfringens infections

Infections with C. perfringens Types A, B, C or D can lead to enteric effects in animals. The organisms are usually found in the soil and intestinal tract and can proliferate in times of sudden dietary change. Clinical signs are most commonly of sudden death, though affected animals may show severe diarrhoea or gas gangrene of tissues prior to death. Outbreaks can occur. Characteristic pathology on post mortem examination include haemorrhagic enteritis, intestinal mucosal ulceration, diarrhoea contents in the intestines and evidence of dysentery. Affected animals are usually young.

Coccidiosis is usually an acute invasion and destruction of intestinal mucosa by protozoa of the genera Eimeria or Isospora. Clinical signs include diarrhea, fever, inappetence, weight loss, emaciation, and in extreme cases, death. However, many infections are subclinical. Coccidiosis is an economically important disease of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, and also rabbits, in which the liver as well as the intestine can be affected.

Coccidiosis is seen universally, most commonly in young animals housed or confined in small areas contaminated with oocysts. Coccidia are opportunistic pathogens; if pathogenic, their virulence may be influenced by various stressors. Therefore, clinical coccidiosis is most prevalent under conditions of poor nutrition, poor sanitation, or overcrowding, or after the stresses of weaning, shipping, sudden changes of feed, or severe weather. In general, for most species of farm animals, the infection rate is high and rate of clinical disease is low (5%–10%), although up to 80% of animals in a high-risk group may show clinical signs.

Clinically healthy, mature animals can be sources of infection to young, susceptible animals.

 Signs of coccidiosis are due to destruction of the intestinal epithelium and, frequently, the underlying connective tissue of the mucosa. This may be accompanied by hemorrhage into the lumen of the intestine, catarrhal inflammation, and diarrhea. Signs may include discharge of blood or tissue, tenesmus, and dehydration.

Prevention is based on limiting the intake of sporulated oocysts by young animals so that an infection is established to induce immunity but not clinical signs. Good feeding practices and good management, including sanitation, contribute to this goal. Neonates should receive colostrum. Young, susceptible animals should be kept in clean, dry quarters. Feeding and watering devices should be clean and must be protected from fecal contamination; this usually means feed is placed in troughs above the ground and positioned so that it is difficult for fecal contamination of feed to occur. Stresses (eg, weaning, sudden changes in feed, and shipping) should be minimized.

Preventive administration of coccidiostats is recommended when animals under various management regimens can be predictably expected to develop coccidiosis.

Continuous low-level feeding of decoquinate, lasalocid, monensin, or amprolium during the first month of feedlot confinement has been reported to have preventive value.

Diarrhea is common in newborn calves, lambs, and kids. The clinical presentation can range from mild diarrhea without systemic disease to profuse, acute diarrhea associated with rapid dehydration, severe disturbance of acid-base and electrolyte balance, and death, sometimes in as few as 12 hr.

Several enteropathogens are associated with diarrhea in neonates. The most prevalent infections in most areas are Escherichia coli, rotavirus, coronavirus, and Cryptosporidium parvum. Cases of neonatal diarrhea are commonly associated with more than one of these agents, and the cause of most outbreaks is multifactorial. Determining the particular agents associated with an outbreak of diarrhea can be important, because specific therapy and prophylaxis are available for some. Also, some agents have zoonotic risk. Diarrhea is also present in septicemic colibacillosis.

E coli is the most important bacterial cause of diarrhea in calves during the first week of life. Strains in calves most commonly possess K99 (F5) or F41 fimbrial antigens, or both.

Salmonella spp, especially S Typhimurium and S Dublin, but occasionally other serovars, cause diarrhea in calves 2–12 wk old. Salmonellae produce enterotoxins but are also invasive and produce inflammatory change within the intestine. In calves, infection commonly progresses to a bacteremia.


Rotavirus is the most common viral cause of diarrhea in calves and lambs. Groups A and B rotavirus are involved, but group A is most prevalent and clinically important. With virulent strains of rotavirus, the loss of enterocytes exceeds the ability of the intestinal crypts to replace them; hence, villous height is reduced, with a consequent decrease in intestinal absorptive surface area and intestinal digestive enzyme activity.
Coronavirus is also commonly associated with diarrhea in calves. It replicates in the epithelium of the upper respiratory tract and in the enterocytes of the intestine, where it produces similar lesions to rotavirus but also infects the epithelial cells of the large intestine to produce atrophy of the colonic ridges.


Cryptosporidium parvum (Cryptosporidiosis) is a common cause of diarrhea in calves and lambs. The parasite does not invade but adheres to the apical surface of enterocytes in the distal small intestine and the colon. This results in loss of microvilli, decreased mucosal enzyme activity with villous blunting and fusion (leading to a reduced villous surface absorptive area), and inflammatory changes in the submucosa. Mammalian cryptosporidia lack host specificity.

Cryptosporidiosis in Neonatal Calves Leaflet

Giardia duodenalis is a common asymptomatic infection in the intestine of young calves and lambs. It has been found in the feces of poorly growing calves that have a chronic mucoid diarrhea, but there is little evidence for a causative association of this organism with diarrhea in calves or lambs.

Other Causes
Calves fed large amounts of milk or inappropriately formulated milk replacers produce a large volume of feces with a greater than normal fluid content but do not have a fluid diarrhea with weight loss. Similarly, calves sucking high-producing beef cows grazing lush pasture may have loose feces. Milk replacers with poor quality, heat-denatured proteins or with excessive amounts of soybean or fish protein or carbohydrates of nonmilk origin have a higher risk of producing diarrhea.

Zoonotic Risk
Several of the agents that produce diarrhea in calves can also produce diarrheal disease in people. Cryptosporidium parvum and S Typhimurium can produce serious disease, particularly in immunocompromised individuals.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease resulting in abortion, decreased fertility and milk drop in cattle.

Leptospirosis is a zoonosis – it can cause disease in humans. Farmers / farm-workers, abattoir workers and vets are the main risk groups. The disease in man is usually acquired from contact with the urine, placental material or aborted foetus of an infected animal or with contaminated water. Clinical signs of the disease are flu-like, with headaches and fever, occasionally progressing to meningitis.


After the first phase of Leptospira infection in cattle, the bacteria localise in the urogenital tract. Early symptoms are usually mild and transient and are often not noticed.

Milk Drop

In cows, the first symptom is often a sudden decrease in milk yield.


Abortions usually occur 6-12 weeks after the initial infection. If the infection occurs in the late gestation, an infected calf may be born. Diagnosis of leptospiral abortion is difficult and based on maternal and foetal serology, as no obvious lesions are associated with the infection.

Abortion rates range from up to 30% in herds not previously infected to 5% in herds where Leptospirosis is endemic.


The greatest effects of infection on fertility are low pregnancy rates and increased culling due to low fertility.

Fasciola hepatica, the most important trematode of domestic ruminants, is the most common cause of liver fluke disease in temperate areas of the world.

Economically important infections are seen in cattle, sheep, in three forms: chronic, which is rarely fatal in cattle but often fatal in sheep; subacute or acute, which is primarily in sheep and often fatal; and in conjunction with “black disease”, which is most common in sheep and usually fatal. The prepatent period is usually 2–3 mo, depending on the fluke burden. The minimal period for the completion of one entire life cycle is ~17 wk. Adult flukes may live in the bile ducts of sheep for years; most are shed from cattle within 5–6 mo. Chronic fasciolosis can be seen in all seasons but manifests primarily in late fall and winter. It occurs as a result of ingesting moderate numbers of metacercariae over longer periods of time; signs include anemia, unthriftiness, submandibular edema, and reduced milk production, but even heavily infected cattle may show no clinical signs although their immunity to other pathogens (eg, Salmonella spp) may be reduced and reactions to the single intradermal test for tuberculosis modified.

Liver Fluke Leaflet

Lungworm Infection

An infection of the lower respiratory tract, usually resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia, can be caused by any of several parasitic nematodes, including Dictyocaulus viviparus in cattle, llamas, and alpacas. Diseases caused by the ruminant Dictyocaulus spp are of most economic importance. The cattle lungworm D viviparus is common in northwest Europe and is the cause of severe outbreaks of “husk” or “hoose” in young (and more recently, older) grazing cattle.

Dictyocaulus spp

Adult females in the bronchi lay larvated eggs that hatch either in the bronchi (D viviparus, D filaria) or in host feces (D arnfieldi) after being coughed up and swallowed. The infective third-stage larvae can develop on pasture within 5–7 days in warm, moist conditions, but typically in summer in temperate northern climates will require 2–3 wk. Once larvae are infective, transmission depends on their dispersal away from the fecal pats. Dispersal mechanisms are, primarily, mechanical and include rain or, in the case of D viviparus and possibly D arnfieldi, by the sporangia of the fungus Pilobolus. A proportion of infective larvae survive on pasture throughout the winter until the following year but, in very cold conditions, most become nonviable. The principal source of new infections each year is from infected carrier animals, with overwintered larvae providing a secondary but not unimportant contribution in some countries. Clinical disease in ruminants usually develops on first exposure to sufficient infective larvae; the severity of disease and stimulation of an immune response is related to the number of larvae ingested.

In cattle and sheep, this usually occurs during their first season at pasture; however, an increase in the number of older cattle affected has been reported and is attributed to the efficiency of some prophylactic anthelmintic regimens, which eliminates infection and prevents development of a protective immune response. Once infected, adult ruminants generally become immune to further disease, but a proportion maintain subclinical infections during which they act as a source of further pasture contamination. Occasionally, when previously infected adults or groups that have not been exposed to reinfection for >1 yr, and in which immunity may have waned, are exposed to an overwhelming level of infection, clinical disease may recur. In areas of Europe in which cattle are housed during winter and first grazing season calves turned out in late April or May, the first infections can be seen between mid June and late July, but most severe infections generally occur in previously unexposed calves after development of the second generation of infective larvae on pasture between August and early October.

Signs of lungworm infection range from moderate coughing with slightly increased respiratory rates to severe persistent coughing and respiratory distress and even failure. Reduced weight gains, reduced milk yields, and weight loss accompany many infections in cattle, sheep, and goats.

The most consistent sign in cattle is initially, rapid, shallow breathing accompanied by a cough that is exacerbated by exercise.

Several drugs are useful to treat lungworms. The benzimidazoles (fenbendazole, oxfendazole, and albendazole) and macrocyclic lactones (ivermectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, and moxidectin) are frequently used in cattle and are effective against all stages of D viviparus.

Lungworm Leaflet


Neospora caninum is a microscopic protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. Many domestic (eg, dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, water buffalo, horses, chickens) and wild and captive animals (eg, deer, rhinoceros, rodents, rabbits, coyotes, wolves, foxes) can be infected. Neosporosis is one of the most common causes of bovine abortion, especially in intensively farmed cows. Neosporosis abortion also occurs in sheep, goats, water buffalo, and camelids, although they may be less susceptible than cattle. Neosporosis in cattle herds manifests in both endemic and epidemic abortion patterns, but it is also possible for a herd to have a high infection prevalence without a noticeable abortion problem. Both endemic and epidemic transmission patterns in cattle are positively associated with the presence and number of dogs in and around farms.

Dogs are definitive hosts of N caninum and are capable of shedding oocysts in feces after eating tissues of infected animals.Neospora oocysts have an impervious shell that enables survival in soil and water for prolonged periods after canine feces have decomposed. Intermediate hosts such as cattle become infected by ingesting oocysts. Cattle do not produce oocysts and thus do not transmit infections horizontally to other cattle, but latent infection may endure permanently in their tissues and is transmitted to canids by carnivorism.

N caninum can be transmitted transplacentally from an infected cow to the developing fetus, an event that may occur in multiple pregnancies of the same cow. Because most congenital infections are subclinical, congenitally infected heifer calves may be retained and added to the breeding herd and, in turn, may pass infections transplacentally to their own offspring. This endogenous transplacental transmission may enable transgenerational maintenance of the parasite even if the herd does not have frequent transmission from dogs. Exogenous transplacental transmission may occur when a previously uninfected cow ingests Neospora oocysts during pregnancy and the fetus becomes infected.

Dogs have been shown to become infected by eating infected cattle (including placentas) and deer and are presumed to become infected by consuming raw meat diets, barnyard chickens, and a variety of wild animals.

Most neosporosis abortions occur in mid to late gestation. Congenitally infected calves may be born weak or with neurologic deficits. However, most congenital infections are subclinical.

Diagnosis of Bovine Abortion

Because neosporosis is only one of many causes of abortion, diagnostic efforts should focus on an array of possible causes. Aborted fetuses should be submitted to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, together with placenta and a serum sample from the aborting dam. Examination of multiple fetuses increases the odds of accurate diagnosis.

AHI Neospora Leaflet


Guide to Parasite control at Housing

Guide to Parasite control at Turnout

Guide to Parasite control at Grazing

Stomach Worms

The common stomach worms of cattle are Haemonchus placei (barber’s pole worm, large stomach worm, wire worm), Ostertagia ostertagi (medium or brown stomach worm), and Trichostrongylus axei (small stomach worm). Young animals are more often affected, but adults not previously exposed to infection frequently show signs and succumb. Ostertagia and Trichostrongylus infections are characterized by profuse, watery diarrhea that usually is persistent. In haemonchosis infection, there may be little or no diarrhea but possibly intermittent periods of constipation. Anemia of variable degree is a characteristic sign of both these infections.

Concurrent with the diarrhea of O ostertagi and T axei infections, and with the anemia of heavy Haemonchus infection, there is often hypoproteinemia and edema (rare in O ostertagi infections), particularly under the lower jaw (bottle jaw) and sometimes along the ventral abdomen. Heavy infections can result in death before clinical signs appear. Other variable signs include progressive weight loss, weakness, rough coat, and anorexia.

Trichuris spp

Trichuris spp infections are common in young calves and yearlings, but the numbers of worms are seldom large. The eggs are resistant, and infections are likely to persist on problem premises. Clinical signs are unlikely, but in occasional heavy infections, dark feces, anemia, and anorexia may be seen.

Cooperia spp

Several species of Cooperia are found in the small intestine of cattle; C punctata, C oncophora, and C pectinata are the most common. The red, coiled adults are 5–8 mm long, and the male has a large bursa. They may be difficult to observe grossly. Their life cycle is essentially the same as that of other trichostrongylids.

Strongyloides sp

The intestinal threadworm Strongyloides papillosus has an unusual life cycle. Only the female worms are found in the intestine. They are 3.5–6 mm long and are embedded in the mucosa of the upper small intestine. Small, embryonated eggs are passed in the feces, hatch rapidly, and develop directly into infective larvae or free-living adults. The offspring of these free-living adults may develop into another generation of infective larvae or free-living adults. The host is infected by penetration of the skin or by ingestion; infective larvae can be transmitted in colostrum as in other species of the genus.

Infections are most common in young calves, particularly dairy stock. Although signs are rare, they may include intermittent diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight, and sometimes blood and mucus in the feces.

Nematodirus spp

Nematodirus helvetianus is generally recognized as the most common bovine species, although other species, eg, N spathiger and N battus, can also infect cattle. Signs, which include diarrhea and anorexia, usually develop during the third week of infection before the worms are sexually mature; clinical infections may be seen in dairy calves from 6 wk onward. Diagnosis is difficult during the prepatent period, but during the patent period it is easily made on the basis of the characteristic eggs. Relatively small numbers of eggs are produced. Fecal sampling of both healthy and sick calves in an affected group will increase the chance of making a diagnosis. Immunity to reinfection develops rapidly.

Toxocara sp

The ascarid Toxocara vitulorum is a stout, whitish worm (males 20–25 cm, females 25–30 cm) found in the small intestine of calves <6 mo old; older calves are resistant.

Oesophagostomum sp

Adults of Oesophagostomum radiatum (nodular worm) are 12–15 mm long, and the head is bent dorsally. Because the eggs are very similar to those of Haemonchus placei, they are often grouped together on routine fecal examination. The life cycle is direct. The larvae penetrate primarily into the wall of the lower 10–20 ft (3–6 m) of the small intestine but also into the cecum and colon, where they remain for 5–10 days and then return to the lumen as fourth-stage larvae.

Young animals suffer from the effects of adult worms, whereas in older animals, the effect of nodules enclosing larval worms is more important. Infection causes anorexia; severe, constant, dark, persistent, fetid diarrhea; weight loss; and death. In older, resistant animals, the nodules surrounding the larvae become caseated and calcified, thus decreasing the motility of the intestine. Stenosis or intussusception occasionally occurs. Nodules can be palpated per rectum, and the worms and nodules can be seen readily at necropsy.


The anoplocephalid tapeworms Moniezia expansa and M benedeni are found in young cattle. The worms of this group are characterized by the absence of a rostellum and hooks, and the segments are wider than they are long. The eggs are triangular or rectangular and are ingested by the intermediate host, free-living oribatid mites, which live in the soil and grass. After 6–16 wk, infective cysticercoids are present in the mites. Infection occurs after ingestion of infected mites; the prepatent period is ~5 wk. Moniezia are commonly considered nonpathogenic in calves, but intestinal stasis has been reported.

Cattle Gutworms the Facts

There are numerous species of paramphistomes (Paramphistomum, Calicophoron, Cotylophoron) in ruminants worldwide. The adult parasites are pear-shaped, pink or red, up to 15 mm long, and attach to the lining of the rumen.

Eggs are passed in the feces, and miracidiae hatch in the water and infect planorbid or bulinid snails. Development in the snail is similar to that in the life cycle of Fasciola hepatica, with the snail shedding cercariae that encyst on the herbage. In the ruminant host, the young flukes exist and remain in the small intestine for 3–6 wk before migrating forward through the reticulum to the rumen. Eggs are produced 7–14 wk after infection. Adult flukes do not cause overt disease, and large numbers may be encountered. The immature flukes attach to the duodenal and, at times, the ileal mucosa by means of a large posterior sucker and cause severe enteritis, possibly necrosis, and hemorrhage. Affected animals exhibit anorexia, polydipsia, unthriftiness, and severe diarrhea. Extensive mortality may occur, especially in young cattle and sheep. Older animals can develop resistance to reinfection but may continue to harbor numerous adult. In acute paramphistomosis there may be no eggs in the feces.

Rumen Fluke Leaflet

Salmonella, a rod-shaped gram-negative bacterium belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae, is the causative agent of salmonellosis. Clinical disease is characterized by two major syndromes: a systemic septicemia (also termed as typhoid) and an enteritis. Other less common clinical presentations include abortion, arthritis, respiratory disease, necrosis of extremities, and meningitis.

In cattle, S Typhimurium is commonly associated with outbreaks of enteritis in calves <2 mo old, whereas S Dublin has been associated with the same condition in older calves and adult cattle.


  • Wound management
  • Closure of complicated and contaminated wounds such as bite wounds, gun shot wounds and road traffic accident wounds.
  • Elective – for example neutering, dental hygiene, lump removal.
  • Necessary for treatment – for example removal of stones from bladder or a swallowed sock from the intestine!
  • Each of our surgery patients undergo a Pre-Anesthetic Health Check with the Vet, possibly followed by blood biochemistry to ensure that they are fit for anesthetic, and that the appropriate anesthetic agents are chosen.
  • Our Human Grade Gas Anesthesia allows for a safe and quick recovery from surgery. All anesthetics are monitored. Following the surgery, our patients are monitored regularly while they recover, and are mostly discharged on the same day with appropriate medicines.