Category: “What’s new”

Tick-ed Off

Tick-ed Off

Ticks do exist in New Zealand BUT as much as they are awful they do not carry diseases, luckily! They do however cause a few issues on our dogs and cats. The common tick is the Cattle Tick. This tick loves warm blooded animals and is most likely to crop up from Spring through Autumn.

In our cats and dogs the signs of a tick issue are small black dots on your pet that simple grow as they feed on their blood until they are engorged. They can be found anywhere on your pet but will target areas close to the long grass, as well as around ears and nose if they keep their heads low on walks sniffing. These parasites live not only rural areas, but in urban parks and gardens too. They find a host, such as your cat or dog, by waving their forelimbs in the air – at the tip of vegetation – the tick will then latch onto your pet and bring them home to the family!

Ticks can cause irritation around the site but DO NOT PULL THEM OFF! If the head gets stuck this could  lead to an abscess. An infestation of ticks could also cause anaemia in unhealthy or young animals.

The Cattle tick also affects large animals.

How to Prevent and Treat for Ticks

The fantastic news is, although you cannot pull them off, you can treat with appropriate flea and tick treatments! Click here to find out more. If you have any more questions or concerns call us on 5445566 for Richmond or 5288459 for Motueka.

Flea and Tick Treatments – Only the Best Will Do

Livestock Products 



Control of ticks on cattle, and an aid in treatment of ticks on deer. Bayticol is active against all 3 stages of the New Zealand cattle tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. It also causes infertility of the ticks that survive treatment by inhibiting egg laying or by rendering eggs sterile. This action helps reduce contamination of pastures.

Provides protection against reinfestation for 3–6 weeks.

Pet and Working Dog Products


Seresto is not your average flea and tick collar. It has been developed using a novel blend of materials, which means it can release active ingredients in controlled, very low doses – giving your dog and cat up to 8 months of protection against fleas and ticks. Seresto is an easy to apply collar which is safe as well as efficient. For more information visit

Nexgard and Nexgard Spectra (Dog Only) 

Nexgard Spectra combines two active ingredients to offer broad spectrum control of the most common external and internal parasites of dogs in one convenient monthly treat. 
This new soft, beef-flavoured chew represents the next generation of the popular Nexgard Spectra Chewables for fleas and ticks, now with the added benefit of treatment for roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
Nexgard Spectra  is a monthly treatment in the form of a highly palatable chew that is readily consumed by dogs when offered as a treat. Created with soy proteins and braised beef flavouring, Nexgard Spectra  features a beefy aroma that dogs love; and, because it is vegetable-based it won’t trigger beef allergies. 
Nexgard Spectra is safe for all breeds and puppies from 8 weeks of age and 2kg or more.
Please note – for those needing to treat hydatids/sheep measles/ tapeworm you will need to use an all wormer containing praziquantel.

Frontline Plus 

For the treatment and prevention of fleas, flea allergy dermatitis, preventing the development of flea eggs and flea larvae.  Kills ticks and biting lice and prevents reinfestation.

FRONTLINE Plus completely breaks the flea lifecycle.  The active ingredient Fipronil (kills newly acquired adult fleas) has been combined with the trusted insect growth regulator (S)-methoprene, which kills flea eggs, larvae and prevents pupae development.

FRONTLINE Plus attacks more stages of the flea lifecycle providing your dog or cat with the best treatment for flea control.

We have available more products in clinic – give us a call and we can provide you the best pest protocols that suits you, your pet and your lifestyle. 


Wairarapa Drench Capsule Study

Key points from the famous Wairarapa capsule study

This large scale piece of research (14 separate trials on commercial farms) was going to give us the answers we needed to make better informed decisions on the need (or otherwise) for ewes to be treated with long acting (LA) anthelmintic products pre-lamb. Read More →

Theileria .. Emerging Disease in Cattle

Theileria .. Emerging Disease in Cattle


Theileria has recently been diagnosed on a dairy farm in Takaka. The Tasman has been classed as a moderate risk area for the disease but with warmer weather and an increase in the tick population we will start to see cases on this side of the hill. Since the first reports of anaemia in beef and dairy cattle appeared from Northland in spring 2012 there’s been an increase in reported cases from Northland down to the central North Island and now the top of the south. It can affect both beef and dairy herds.

What is Theileria?

Theileria is a blood parasite that damages red blood cells and causes anaemia in cattle.

What to look out for:

Signs of Theileriosis are those associated with anaemia and include: pale or yellow mucous membranes ie. gums, vulva and whites of the eyes., depression, lethargy, lack of appetite, exercise intolerance, (lagging behind the mob) downer cows that do not respond to treatment and in some instances cattle may collapse and die if stressed or forced to move or run. Pregnant cows may abort and still births are common. In dairy cows a drop in milk production will occur and somatic cell counts may rise.

How do herds/animals get Theileria?

It is passed between animals by ticks. These ticks can be brought in by infected cows moving onto the property or vectors such as dogs or rabbits.

Tick Lifecycle

The tick lifecycle consists of four stages – egg, larva, nymph and adult. Theileria are not transferred from the adult to the egg. However, once hatched if a larva becomes infected with Theileria the tick remains infected through the later nymphal and adult life stages.

Adult ticks are active mainly during early summer, larvae from late summer to early winter, and nymphs mainly in spring. Nymphs will be dormant during winter becoming active as the weather becomes more favourable in the spring.

All stages live at the base of pasture plants. Each stage, apart from eggs, needs to feed on a warm-blooded host to progress to its next life stage. During questing (searching for a host) ticks will climb up plant stems and attach to a passing animal.

Feeding lasts anywhere from 5 to 14 days, longer with older stages and after feeding the larva, nymph or adult tick drops off the host and returns to the bottom of the pasture to mature to the next stage, or to lay eggs if it is an adult tick.

When is it most likely to occur?

Spring and autumn have been the predominant disease periods. This is due to the high levels of stress around calving and drying off, peak milk lactation is also a time of concern.

Contributing factors:

Stock movements, environmental conditions, stress in the herd, concurrent disease, tick populations and prior exposure to the disease are likely contributing factors.


A presumptive diagnosis can be made on presentation with pale/yellow membranes and a drop in production are the normal clinical signs. This can be confirmed by a blood test.

Treatment options

The treatment used depends on the severity of clinical signs. Stress is a big factor in the severity of clinical cases. Supportive care and good husbandry around these times will help lessen the impact of the disease.

Establishing once a day milking for affected cows and increased nutrition can speed up recovery and prevent drying off.

The best drug used to treat Theileria is Buparvaquone. This has been used in Australia for some time but has only recently become available in New Zealand. Unfortunately as it has not undergone clinical trials here and because of our stringing export requirements the meat and milk withholding times are long: currently for meat this is 18 months, and for milk 43 days also milk from treated cows must not be fed to bobby calves (OK for replacement calves). Bobby calves born to treated cows must not enter the food or feed chain.

Efficacy of Buparvaquone is good providing use is timely, appropriate and used with other disease management methods.

Previous to the introduction of Buparvaquone high doses of Engemycin had been used to treat clinical cases with some success.

Cows that are very anaemic with a PCV (packed cell volume is a measure of red blood cell loss) around 10% will require a blood transfusion. For this healthy donor cows must be chosen and checked that they are not also affected by Theileria. This can be done on farm in an emergency situation if we have the equipment. Cows given blood transfusions recover quickly and can often return to milking.

Control and prevention options

In areas where Theileria is commonly found (endemic areas) most adult cattle are found to be immune. This disease is mainly a problem in naive herds that have not had any exposure to the disease. With time and controlled levels of exposure most herds will develop a good level of immunity. We cannot completely control the tick population and therefore the spread of the disease but it is possible to greatly lessen the impact.

Young stock:

Calves should be examined closely when they are 6-12 weeks old as this is the time when temperatures are increasing and ticks will be starting to attach to stock.

Stock movement:

Introduced cattle should be examined closely when they arrive on farm, and are starting to settle in over the next few weeks – as this is commonly when stressors are maximal and clinical disease may present.

In districts where Theileria is normally not present, but cattle from Theileria infected areas have been introduced (such as cattle been grazed away or cattle bought in from endemic areas), check home cattle regularly between two and six months after the introductions. If signs of disease are noted, seek veterinary advice as treatment when animals are mildly affected has been most successful.

Avoid importing animals from known affected properties, however where the health status of bought-in stock is unknown, treatment with a registered tick treatment such as Bayticol may be advisable prior to introduction. Bayticol has a nil milk and meat withhold.

Cattle may require treatment every two to three weeks for a few months during summer and autumn, but it must be noted that over-use of tick products can cause resistance within the tick population. Therefore it is important to remember that tick treatments should not be the only method of tick control – each stage of the life cycle of the tick is only on the body for a short period of time. For beef farmers rotational grazing practices may also help control ticks; the use of sheep or deer may act as ‘vacuum cleaners’ to remove ticks from pasture before the introduction of cattle.

Theileria can also spread by way of blood transmission – ie use of a needle or ear taggers on an infected animal being then used on an uninfected animal, or even biting flies. It is therefore very important to disinfect equipment between cattle to help prevent the spread and control flies in sheds and facilities.


Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to set up a Theileria control plan for your individual farm.

Sheep and Beef Articles

The following is a list of Articles that might be of interest to you.  Just click on the title and you will be directed to the article:

Laser Therapy

We are incredibly happy with our Class 4 K-Laser and the variety of uses this wonderful machine has! We have used the Laser on wound management, arthritic cases, post op wounds, post op orthopedics, physio and acupuncture to name a few! As well as the machine being portable so being ideal to treat equine patients, the laser treatment itself also is pain free and non invasive, so perfect for you and your pet to keep treatment as stress free as possible!

What is Laser Therapy?

Laser Therapy, or “photobiomodulation”, is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects. These effects include improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation and decreased swelling. Laser Therapy has been widely utilized in Europe by physical therapists, nurses and doctors as far back as the 1970’s. Now, after FDA clearance in 2002, Laser Therapy is being used extensively in the United States.

Has effectiveness been demonstrated scientifically?

Yes. There are thousands of published studies demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of Laser Therapy. Among these, there are more than one hundred rigorously controlled, scientific studies that document the effectiveness of Laser Therapy for many clinical conditions.

Cellular Effects of Laser Therapy

During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, and metabolic activity increases within the cell, improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the increased production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health.

Laser Therapeutic Effects

During each painless treatment, laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved.

What is a Class 4 therapy laser?

Lasers are classified according to their output power. A Class 4 laser has more than 500 milliwatts of power. Higher power means it can deliver more energy per unit of time – which means your Veterinarian can treat a very large area on your pet in just a few minutes.

Ryegrass Staggers

Ryegrass Staggers

Ryegrass Staggers is a neurological impairment of cattle – particularly of weaned calves and heifers – as well as sheep, deer, horses and alpacas. Horses can be permanently impaired.

It is caused by a naturally occurring ryegrass endophyte (fungus). The fungus produces a toxin that is concentrated in leaf sheaths and seed heads. When ingested the toxin affects the nervous system of grazing animals.

It occurs throughout NZ as far south as Otago, mostly during dry spells (January to late April) when pasture is likely to be in short supply and is being grazed closer to the ground.

Ryegrass Staggers is not the same as grass staggers or hypomagnesemia – a deficiency of magnesium in the blood that can seriously affect cattle.


An early sign of ryegrass staggers is that an animal will be unusually anxious when approached. An affected animal will likely show a slight trembling of the head. Skin on the neck, shoulder and flanks will twitch and flicker when the animal is disturbed.

Symptoms progress to head nodding, jerky movements, swaying while standing and staggering movements. A deterioration is evidenced by stiff-legged and jerky movement, short prancing steps and eventual collapse, sometimes with rigid spasms lasting several minutes.

Calves usually remain upright on their briskets with their legs splayed while sheep tend to roll on their sides with head extended and limbs rigid.

  • Affected stock cannot be disturbed without risk of their collapse. This makes it difficult to move them to the next feed break or to a yard.
  • Affected animals lose physical condition and do not drink sufficient water.
  • An immediate economic consequence for dairy farmers is loss of milk production. Affected dairy cows are also at risk of injury when falling in the race and falling on concrete in the dairy shed, yard or milking area.
  • Although not fatal in itself, ryegrass staggers can lead to stock losses through ‘misadventure’ – animals staggering into waterways and drowning, falling into an electric fence or other obstacle and being injured, falling down a bank, or into a ditch or swamp and becoming stuck.


A DSIR test in NZ showed a correlation between the relief of ryegrass staggers and dosing with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) and potassium chloride (McColl & Orchard, 1981).

A preventive course of action was indicated in the results of a North Canterbury farm trial with seaweed-based trough treatments for 236 bull calves over a 10-week period (McKenzie, 1985).

Fungicidal spray is an option to suppress potential endophyte build-up in ryegrass pasture.

Long term options for severely affected farms are pasture replacement with an endophyte-resistant grass or livestock replacement with animals bred for ryegrass staggers resistance

Pasture management options aim to:

  1. provide fresh breaks into leafy ryegrass where toxicity is naturally lower.
  2. provide pasture that has a low endophyte count or is ryegrass-free.
  3. provide pasture that includes legumes such as white clover, which dilute toxin uptake.
  4. provide ‘safe pasture’ such as lucerne, red clover, chicory, brown top, kikuyu and annual ryegrass (as opposed to perennial ryegrass).
  5. make available summer forage crops and supplements such as grain, hay and silage.

Stock management options aim to:

  1. leave affected animals mostly undisturbed.
  2. move stock slowly and patiently without the stress of bikes, dogs and overcrowding.
  3. postpone any non-essential yarding and stock movements.
  4. avoid leaving stock in paddocks with natural hazards such as ponds, ditches and bluffs.
  5. make allowance for recovering animals now mobile but still lacking normal coordination.
  6. implement a weekly drench programme prior to and during the period of risk.

Dairy management options aim to:

  1. minimise the distance walked to the dairy yard.
  2. milk affected cows only once a day and drench once or twice weekly with a preferred drench formulation that will help reduce the incidence and severity of ryegrass staggers.
  3. dry-off badly affected cows to lessen their physical stress.

Vetpack Summer “Tonic” is a mineral-rich, seaweed-based formulation administered to animals as a ready-to-use feed supplement or drench, which is especially formulated for summer feed conditions.� Farmers claim that their on-farm experience with Vetpack Summer Tonic, when used correctly, is that it can greatly assist in reducing the incidence and severity of ryegrass staggers. It is manufactured by Independent Veterinary Supplies Ltd and distributed through Veterinary Clinics to be used as required or as directed by a Veterinary Surgeon


We suggest you take the appropriate action to ensure your animals’ welfare is safeguarded during the period of risk. We also recommend that you consult your local Veterinarian for up-to-date information on ryegrass staggers in your area.

For further information, please contact us

Copper Deficiency

Copper Deficiency

Copper deficiency is most recognised in deer and cattle causing production losses through a sub-clinical deficiencies. On occasions, clinical signs will occur including poor locomotion, coat changes, poor reproductive performance, poor milk production, diarrhoea, weight loss and skeletal defects and reduced growth rates in growing animals.

Copper is commonly deficient in New Zealand soils and can be made more deficient by the application of certain other minerals such as Sulphur and Molybdenum. Animal species differ in their susceptibility, with deer being the most susceptible.

To check if your stock are copper deficient samples of blood or liver biopsy’s from 4 animals will give you a good indication of your herds copper levels.

Supplementation can be made to animals via several methods. The most reliable and economical in in Copper Oxide Capsules that last 8 to 12 months. Injectable products last 6 to 12 weeks and most oral applications are very short acting.  Copper can be applied through normal fertilisers which is convenient but expensive.

For advice or more information, please contact us.

Electrolytes for Horses

Electrolytes for Horses

In the past recommendations for electrolytes differed depending on the type of work the horse was doing. For example endurance horses were given acidic electrolyte solution with increased potassium levels to offset the alkalosis that occurred due to losing sweat over a long period.

Now the recommendation is to supplement electrolyte with the same formulation as horse sweat for all horses regardless of the work they are doing, but vary the amount given depending on the amount of sweating that is done.

Horse sweat is 10x the concentrations of human sweat! The main components are sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium and calcium. Horses can sweat 10-15 litres an hour, meaning they can lose a large volume of fluid rich in electrolytes that needs to be replaced in feed.

Horses don’t store sodium, potassium or chloride and so if they are sweating each day need to have these electrolytes replaced daily. Horses that are not involved in regular strenuous exercise and have access to good hay or pasture and a salt block are probably receiving adequate amounts of major elements.

Horses that sweat losing large amounts of sodium have a reduced thirst response e.g. when they should be drinking more, they don’t feel like they need a drink! Most importantly when horses have been working and you want to keep fluid intake up encourage drinking by supplying cool, clean fresh water.

Calf Scours

Calf Scours
Treating calf scours is a time consuming, frustrating business and the first thing to remember is that even though you will do your best you may not save them all. One of the first questions to ask when a calf gets scours is “Is it a nutritional or infectious scour?” A nutritional scour is often what’s called a ‘happy’ scour. The calf will often look otherwise healthy and still have a good appetite, although not always.

Nutritional scours are usually the result of:

a sudden change of feed (like colostrum to milk or milk replacer)
· a sudden change in feed volume (like twice day feeding to once day feeding)
· or mixing problems with milk replacer.
Changing brands or types of milk replacer can also cause a nutritional scour. Usually giving the calf 24 hours off milk and replacing those feeds with good quality electrolytes is all that is needed to stop the scour.

Infectious scours like Rotavirus, Cryptosporidium, Corona virus, Salmonella and E.coli will normally cause a sick, dehydrated looking calf. Contrary to popular opinion it is not possible to diagnose which bug is causing the problem just by the smell and colour of the scour. Faecal culture is needed on at least three scouring calves in an outbreak situation to get a picture of what is causing the problem. Getting a diagnosis is important for several reasons:
1. Some of the treatments differ slightly for different bacteria or viruses.
2. Some of the bugs will infect people and make them sick, especially children. This happens more often than you might think and examples include Salmonella and Cryptosporidium infections.
3. Knowing what is causing the problem can help in forming a prevention programme for next season e.g. using Rotavec in the cows pre-calving.
The most important treatment for infectious calf scours is still fluid/electrolyte replacement. If the calf has stopped drinking then it needs to be tube fed. A 40kg calf that has lost 10% of its bodyweight in lost fluids will need 4 litres just to correct the dehydration. This level of dehydration is not unusual in scouring calves. Add in the normal day to day needs of about 4 litres and that calf needs 8 litres of fluid in 24 hours. A calf can only take in 2 litres per feed so that means, ideally, 4 feeds of fluids in 24 hours. In most cases giving the calf 3 feeds every 24 hours over 2 to 3 days will correct the dehydration, but remember that 3 is the absolute minimum number of daily feeds for a scouring calf, twice daily is too little. You can check the level of dehydration in the calf by gently pulling down the bottom eyelid and looking at the gap between the eyelid and the eyeball. In a normal calf there is almost no gap (check a healthy calf first for comparison) and as the calf gets more and more dehydrated the eyeball will gradually sink away from the eyelid.

When it comes to electrolytes you generally get what you pay for. The better quality products such as ‘Diarrest’ have ingredients which give a fast and slow release of energy as well as correct the major electrolyte and acid imbalances that occur in scours. Cheaper products only provide some basic electrolyte replacement and a short term energy burst. As a general rule, if the calf is sick enough to need tube fed then use a better quality product. If the calf is still drinking then you can fill a feeder between milk feeds with a more basic electrolyte product and let the calf drink adlib.
New research has shown that keeping the calf on milk during a scour episode may actually speed up the recovery process as opposed to having 2 to 3 days of straight electrolytes. This is due to the milk having excellent energy levels, some localised gut protection activity and the correct proteins and amino acids to aid healing and stimulate the calf’s immune system. A standard fluid replacement programme for scouring calves is outlined below:
Day 1: Electrolytes (am) Milk (noon) Electrolytes (pm)
Day 2: Milk (am) Electrolytes (noon) Milk (pm)
Day 3: Milk (am) Electrolytes (noon) Milk (pm)
An alternative approach would be to give the calf 3 or 4 feeds of electrolytes on the first day and then go onto the above programme for days 2, 3, and 4.