Livestock Matters - Winter 2018

Livestock Matters Winter 2018 19 TB team talks “We – Nieves, Cornel and I - don’t see much of each other on the four testing days of the week, but we try and have a meeting at least once a fortnight on Wednesdays, together with our director Bridget Taylor and one/ both of the TB co-ordinators. It usually only lasts half an hour. “The testing rules are changing all the time, and we need to keep ourselves up-to-date as farmers ask us for advice. We’ll never talk about ‘problems’, instead we might say ‘we have a situation’ and then discuss it. Labour and facilities “Cattle handling facilities are very important,” says Mirel. “TB testing can be quite a dangerous job. “At the very least, a crush needs a back gate to stop the cow moving back and forth. In my experience it’s best to close the yoke, let the cow in, then close the back gate, and only use the yoke if it’s an awkward cow. “Some farms still don’t have a crush and use a long race with a yoke at one end. In these cases, there needs to be a person the far side of the race who can make sure that the cows’ heads and necks are facing towards me. “When I go onto a new farm I’m always looking to find the safest, quickest and easiest way to do the testing. I’ll ask the farmer what he’s planning, but also give my advice too. Sometimes, we’ll come up with a new system. “Most big farms have the staff and facilities to make the job easier. It’s the 60 cow herds that take all day, that make me more tired. Sometimes we go onto a farm and there’s only one person there to help us, and the cattle are still in the field. “I’ve also noticed that Government- funded TB testing of 200 animals on a farm can take 4 -5 hours, yet a private pre-movement test on the same farm might take only 2-3 hours. Funny that! Gaining more experience “Prior to coming to the UK, all my veterinary experience was with pigs. Once here, I ceased being a clinical vet for 7 years. In that time, new medicines have come onto the market, and new techniques. “So I’ve been taking the time to learn from the clinical vets here at Wright and Morten. On Wednesdays, or if a test finishes early, I’ve been accompanying them to see interesting cases. I also go out on my own for minor veterinary procedures like de-horning, castration, and blood sampling. “I’m really happy doing what I’m doing. I’m a farm vet: I test for TB, and I carry out some clinical work. And every day is different.” The TB testing team: Mirel Lucaci, Cornel Gaica and Nieves Chanfreut Taking bloods on-farm About Mirel... Mirel Lucaci qualified as a vet at the University of Timisoara in Romania in 2005. He began his career working as a vet for a large integrated pig company. After two years he was promoted into a combined management and veterinary role. He moved to the UK in 2009. About Wright and Morten... This mixed practice was established in Macclesfield and the core farm client base is still within 12 miles of the town. The farm and equine teams have moved to a site out of town at Holly Tree Farm. Two years ago, a satellite branch was set up in Whaley Bridge to support the growing number of clients there. Wright and Morten farm clients are a mix of dairy farms, and an increasing number of beef and sheep farms. The practice is expanding as several local practices have given up farm work, and existing clients are taking on new farms. Today, the practice numbers eight clinical farm vets, three TB testing vets and a pharmacy manager. In addition, two Vet Techs provide support with youngstock health schemes, vaccine compliance, foot-trimming, mobility scoring, and condition scoring.