Vets offer advice for small holders after surprise flooding

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With Storm Desmond creating flooding across the UK, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) are offering advice to livestock owners to ensure their animals are kept out of harm’s way during the unseasonal weather.

Flooded and muddy fields are a hazard for cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock, as standing in water and deep mud can cause infections and diseases, such as foot rot, so vets are advising owners to ensure their fields have suitable drainage and an area where animals can stand out of the mud or damp. The presence of mud also creates an ideal habitat for the tiny snails which spread the serious parasite, liver fluke, which can be fatal to sheep.

We’re encouraging all livestock owners to exercise extra caution during the extreme wet weather. Having a contingency plan for evacuation in place may seem drastic, however the cost of being caught out is greater if you end up unable to reach animals that are in distress or, worse still, lose animals through circumstances that could be avoided.”

Sean Wensley BVA president

With rapidly rising water levels able to cut off access to cattle and sheep or even wash them away, the leading veterinary associations are advising extra caution if livestock are usually kept near a river as field-flooding can happen days after the deluge of rain. If fields are prone to flooding then, where possible, it’s advised that owners move their livestock ahead of time to a drier field during the winter months.

Sean Wensley, president of BVA says: “We’re encouraging all livestock owners to exercise extra caution during the extreme wet weather. Having a contingency plan for evacuation in place may seem drastic, however the cost of being caught out is greater if you end up unable to reach animals that are in distress or, worse still, lose animals through circumstances that could be avoided.”

If the weather conditions become too hazardous BVA and SVS suggest moving livestock to sheltered areas closer to home, not only to keep animals dry, but to ensure owners stay safe themselves by avoiding trips out into more exposed areas of land in dangerous conditions.