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As we wind down what has been a very busy 2015, HVC would like to take the opportunity to wish all of our clients and pets a very warm and merry Christmas and all the best for the new year. 

2015 has been an exciting year for many of our production clients with impressive increases in sale prices, this has led to increased confidence within the industry and as a result increased opportunities for many agricultural businesses. At HVC we have had a busy spring with a large amount of bovine artificial breeding and the equine breeding has also ramped up as we speak. The small animal hospital has also been kept busy with a variety of cases from immunising new pets joining the family, to removing grass seeds left, right and centre and treating seasonal allergy related problems.

This issue of the HVC newsletter will introduce our new ET technician Megan Bowden, who started with us in September and whilst learning the ropes has continued to go from strength to strength in her role. We will overview what we believe to be some of the important reminders to keep in mind over the summer break for both our small animals and production animals, and our vets have put together some informative articles on the basic economics of pregnancy testing, equine reproduction and the risks associated with feeding our pets table scraps over the Christmas period.

In the coming months livestock producers will be monitoring their cow body condition scores and feed budgets to determine when they will wean their calves, once these calves are weaned it is important to provide these weaners with appropriate nutrition in a cost effective manner. Keep an eye out on our website next month as we will be uploading some helpful tips on weaning and nutrition. We intend to run a field day in the new year which will cover these topics as well, so we'll keep you posted. 

During this lovely time of year it is a great opportunity for everyone to make the most of the warmer evenings to spend time outside with their pets, keeping them fit and active. We wish everyone and their pets a very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you all again in 2016!


- Reminders

- Staff Profile

    - Megan Bowden - ET Technician 

- Vet Articles
    - Pregnancy Testing
    - Horse Reproduction 
    - Pudding Problems 



- Now is the time to consider scheduling your spring herd pregnancy testing which can commence six weeks after removal of the bull. 

- Be observant for the signs of pink eye or eye trauma. Prompt treatment (removal of any grass seeds, antibiotics and patching) will minimise long term damage. 

- Be mindful of feed budgeting and wet cow body condition. The time of weaning should be triggered by cow body condition score approaching 2.5-3/5. For most of our herds this will occur between late January and late March; remember that we are weaning the cow not the calf!


- Be mindful of skin allergies in your cats and dogs over the summer period. 

- Avoid feeding Christmas leftovers to your pets. 

- Keep a watchful eye out for creepies and crawlies (snakes, spiders, bees & wasps) and if your heading to the coast these holidays make sure you pick up some short term tick prevention. 

Pregnancy Testing - The True Benefit 

We are now coming into Summer and producers are starting to crunch numbers on when they can begin pregnancy testing in order to offload their empties and culls. For most of our spring calving herds, bulls will only be removed from their joinings in late December. However, a lot of early joined heifer groups will be ready for pregnancy testing from late December/ early January onwards, this will enable specific targeting of kill grids for these females during the normally lucrative New Year period. Ideally the sooner we can identify these empty cows and remove them from the system, the more efficient our system will be and the easier it will be to carry our weaners and pregnant cattle through.
Females can be manually pregnancy tested from as early as 6 weeks following the removal of bulls. The use of an ultrasound scanner can facilitate even earlier pregnancy testing (30 days upwards, highly accurate foetal ageing & foetal sexing), where required. At this time of the management calendar, pregnancy testing should be on the forefront of people’s minds, most herds are getting close to the trigger point of weaning, as determined by cow body condition score reaching 2.5-3 /5 and suitability to their management plan. It is a great opportunity to wean at the time of pregnancy testing and remove all non-productive animals from the system.
Accepting that there is large variation between different operations, in this region we are looking at a ball park figure of $250 to run a cow for a year. Therefore, take a herd of 100 cows with a pregnancy rate of 90%, if we can remove the 10 empty cows, this removes the expense of $1500 associated with running these non-pregnant females from when they could be pregnancy tested until when they would have been expected to calve naturally. In this herd of 100 cows this implies that pregnancy testing would be worth something in the realm of $15/hd due just to the cost of running the non-pregnant cows, which can more than cover the costs associated with yarding the cattle and having them pregnancy tested. A more detailed cost analysis taking into account the lost income associated with any unknown empty cows not rearing a calf would show a more dramatic value of pregnancy testing to the farming business.
Furthermore, at this time of year we are becoming tight for feed and are having to partition feed for young and growing stock, there is no reason to persist with animals that will not be growing in value. Unlike heifers there is little scope for value adding in older empty cows, especially over the summer period. The most logical course of action is to offload and sell these females, which will free up feed and cash flow.


To discuss your pregnancy testing requirements this season, please contact HVC or speak with one of our vets. 

Equine Reproduction

Coming into the summer months we have been busy with a large amount of horse reproduction. This can range from scanning mares to assess their ovulation status and when the mare is fit to be bred, to collecting stallions for chilled semen which can then be transported around the country for artificial insemination into an ovulating mare.

In partnership with Berragoon Equine Breeders we are also running a successful embryo transfer program aimed at producing several foals from a single mare each year. As well as allowing the mare to be used in her chosen discipline during the season. This procedure is undertaken by joining the mare and tracking her ovulation and then flushing her embryo 7 days post ovulation, at this stage the embryos are then implanted in a recipient mare who will gestate, give birth to and raise the foal.

If you have any queries as to breeding your horses do not hesitate to contact the clinic.

Pancreatitis and Chocolate Toxicity

Over the Christmas period is not uncommon to want to share a few treats with our four legged friends or they may help themselves if they are feeling a bit peckish. This however can lead to a few problems over the holiday period. The main consequence of a fatty rich meal for dogs and cats apart from a very full stomach is pancreatitis. Dogs and cats will show a combination of symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, abdominal pain, lethargy, depression and diarrhoea.

Treatment is aimed at supportive care through fluid therapy to prevent dehydration, pain relief and antibiotics to prevent any infection whilst the animal is unwell. If your dog or cat presents with any of these symptoms do not hesitate to call us at the clinic.
A second problem we often see over the holiday period is chocolate toxicity, typically in our canine friends. For us chocolate is a great treat however, for our dogs even a small amount can cause problems due to a chemical called “theobromine”. In dogs this chemical causes a variety of signs but initially you will see vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal distension and restlessness. This can advance to cardiac abnormalities and coma if not treated, so professional care is required. 

Milk chocolate is the least toxic chocolate blend due to its lower percentage of cacao seeds, however if a 10 kilograms dog was to ingest 100 grams of milk chocolate signs would be present in 3 to 4 hours. Dark and baking chocolate require significantly less product to be ingested for symptoms to present.
If you are worried about any of your furry, feathered or finned friends over the holidays do not hesitate to call us at the Clinic

From all of us here at the Holbrook Vet Centre have a Safe and Merry Christmas

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18 Byng St
NSW 2644

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