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New Scour Risk Assessment to Cut Disease Costs

05 February 2009

MSD Animal Health - NYSE:MRK

GLOBE - A new calf scour disease management initiative has been launched by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Designed to help beef suckler producers and dairy farmers prevent one of the most costly diseases they have to manage, the risk assessment-based approach has been developed in conjunction with UK farm animal veterinary practices.

"Calf scour continues to cause significant financial losses on UK cattle units," says Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health large animal veterinary adviser Paul Williams MRCVS.

"In fact the disease is the most serious youngstock health problem in the first month of life. Even a moderate outbreak can quickly add up to losses of over £3,000 for a 100-cow herd. The high costs associated with scour outbreaks - and the sheer prevalence of the bugs that can cause the disease - means it is essential for farmers to keep their preventive programme under constant review."

Participation in the initiative involves completing a simple scour risk assessment questionnaire for review by the farm's veterinary practice.

"Completion of the questionnaire will give your vet a good idea of how susceptible your calf rearing unit and system is overall to a scour outbreak," Paul Williams points out.

"The feedback will also help highlight any potential weaknesses in your disease management approach - for example, in the colostrum feeding or calf bedding regime perhaps - and give your vet the opportunity to recommend an action plan. Rotavirus and cryptosporidia remain the most prevalent causes of calf scour outbreaks, yet both problems can be managed effectively if the bugs are identified on your farm. Simple diagnostic tests are available through your vet, so it's highly likely that whatever is causing your calf scour problem can be identified and prevented."

Farms will receive copies of the risk assessment questionnaire in early February and further information is available from local farm veterinary practices.

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