Skimping on dosing costs dearly
Concerned vets have warned cash-strapped farmers not to skimp on routine veterinary treatments in an effort to cut farm costs.
High levels of immature fluke have been noted in slaughtered animals by factory vets, indicating that routine fluke dosing may have been sacrificed by farmers struggling with the fodder and weather crisis.
Vet Arthur O'Connor said colleagues were concerned that some farmers had been tempted to skip routine treatments as a way of saving money.
"We are getting reports of high levels of fluke from the factories, and in particular immature fluke, which would indicate that dosing has not happened," said Mr O'Connor.
Based in Banagher, Co Offaly, Mr O'Connor is also the Veterinary Ireland representative on the Department of Agriculture Farm Animal Welfare and Advisory Council (FAWAC).
The vet warned that if farmers skimped on routine treatments such as dosing and vaccinations, they faced much higher costs in the long term.
"Fluke dosing costs approximately €2.50/cow but if the cow is not dosed, it could cost the farmer €400-500/cow in long-term damage through reduced fertility, longevity, milk yield and damage to other animals in the herd," Mr O'Connor explained.
Similarly, a farmer who decides not to vaccinate against IBR at a cost of €5.50-6/cow risked a "complete disaster", the vet warned.