Over 100 Dairy Cows put down following Ergotism Outbreak in New Zealand
This week over 100 cows on a farm in New Zealand had to be put down after digesting fungus from an infected feed supply. The herd in the Southland and Otago regions was suffering from ergot toxicity. Randox Food Diagnostics have developed the only test for this fungus on the market, which can protect your animals from injury or death.
Ergot Alkaloids are a naturally occurring fungus most commonly found in grains and grasses. Produced by a group of fungi called the Claviceps species, they infect seed heads of plants during the flowering period. The fungus replaces the developing grain with toxic ergot. The dry summer and wet autumn this year provided the optimum growing conditions for the fungus.
Typically, it causes lameness and swelling of the fetlocks and hock joints but in the most severe cases animals can lose tips of their tails, or ears or even their hooves. As in this case, it can result in animals being put down.
While all animals are at risk of contracting ergot, it is most commonly found in cattle.
According to the report, VetSouth Winton veterinarian Hayden Dore confirmed four cases have been reported in Southland and South Otago with a large number of infected cows.
“Over time it effectively causes one or more of the limbs to become gangrenous. Signs of ergot toxicity generally start with a disinterest in feed, before moving to lameness in the limbs, which presented similarly to foot rot, but without the separation of the toes. Once the limbs go cold from lack of blood supply, it would take about a week before the limbs began to fall off,” he said.
“One herd with 900 milking cows had around 130 cows infected by the poisonous fungus, with subsequently 61 of them being put down.”
Testing for Ergot Alkaloids
Randox Food Diagnostics offer the only array on the market to test for Ergot Alkaloids. Validated for flour and seed, the ELISA test offers excellent limits of detection for the toxin Ergotamine at 1ppb.
With 111 years of events under its belt, the Antrim Agricultural Show is one of the longest running and most highly regarded of Northern Ireland’s regional agricultural shows.
Now in its 112th year, and with the backing of a new title sponsor in the form of Antrim-headquartered Randox Laboratories, the show has drawn in its largest crowd to date, with thousands of guests turning up for the Randox Antrim Show 2017, held in Shane’s Castle on Saturday 22nd July.
A special guest to this year’s event was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, visiting the Randox Antrim Show to show his support for the local farming community. During his visit to the popular agricultural show, Mr. Gove stopped by the Randox marquee to chat to Managing Director Dr. Peter FitzGerald, and Senior Manager Mark Campbell, about the company’s patented Biochip Array Technology.
With applications in human health, animal health, and food safety, the Biochip has revolutionised the diagnostics industry because it allows multiple tests to be carried out from a single sample on a single testing platform. Of particular interest to the Secretary of State and to the guests in attendance at this year’s Randox Antrim Show, was the Mycotoxin Biochip, capable of detecting all ten of the world’s most prevalent toxins in animal feed.
Stuart Penrose, Global Marketing Manager for the Randox Biochip, commented;
“Not only does the Randox Antrim Show offer us the opportunity to support the local community in which Randox has grown and flourished over the years, but through this partnership we can also offer that very same community the very latest in diagnostic technology to keep their livestock safe, happy, and importantly, healthy. What your animal eats plays a huge role in their health so with Randox Food Diagnostics you can rest assured that what you are giving your livestock is of the highest quality.”
Also on offer in the Randox marquee at the Randox Antrim Show was a free health analysis, conducted by the Randox Health team. Guests to the tent had the opportunity to find out their true body age – determined by weight, height, blood pressure, fat distribution and muscle distribution, among other measurements taken by a member of the team from Randox Health, the world’s most comprehensive and personalised health screening programme.
Designed to determine the status of your current health, but also to map out your future health, Randox Health constantly works to keep your body healthy. Unlike any other health care, Randox Health doesn’t wait until you are sick to make you better. Hundreds of guests at the Randox Antrim Show queued up in their droves to find out more, and so can you. Simply click here.
For more information about the Randox Antrim Show, please contact Randox PR: email email@example.com or phone 028 9442 2413.
To coincide with the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week the UK Government is being urged to ban excessive use of antibiotics in farming by a group of leading doctors, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Made up of 12 royal medical colleges, the British Medical Association and the Faculty of Public Health, the group say that the UK should “use the opportunity afforded by Brexit to lead the world in banning” preventative prescription of medicines on animals.
A decision made by the European Parliament earlier this year to ban mass agricultural medication has not yet been ratified by member states or the European Commission.
A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ spokesman told the newspaper that dealing with AMR is a “top priority” though the paper notes it ‘stopped short of promising a ban.’
In 2015 McDonalds set itself a two year deadline to stop its US restaurants buying chicken raised with human antibiotics. It led to one of the US’s leading meat producers – Tyson Foods – promising to end the practice by September 2017 – which is, as The Guardian stated, “one of the most aggressive timelines yet set by an American poultry company.” The company’s CEO Donnie Smith told the newspaper: “We have found as we have reduced the level of antibiotics we use, whether it’s human use or vet-only, our cost has actually gone down. A lot of the ways we’ve been able to accomplish this is by working with our farmers on better husbandry practices. If this millennial mum wants a no-antibiotic ever..nugget we better supply that.”
Farmers Weekly reported this month on a Danish Crown initiative launched in 2015 whereby pig farmers attach an antibiotics-free tag to piglets at the neonatal stage. It’s removed at any point if antibiotic treatment is deemed necessary. It claims that although early farm trials suggest a production fall of up to 2.5 piglet per sow per year, the “premium covers additional costs if 35% or more piglets carry the tag to the slaughterhouse.”
Pig farmer Stine Mikkelsen carried out a major review of hygiene and health on her farm to reduce antimicrobial use to boost revenue by £11.25 per pig. She says that although production is down and labour costs did increase, it “feels good” to farm in this way. She told the newspaper, “I am very motivated to do something about it – it’s a hard route to take but I have a good feeling about this system.”
Randox Food Diagnostics is working with global leaders in the food industry to tackle antibiotic resistance and safeguard their use for both human and veterinary treatment.
Using a dedicated research and development team, Randox have the ability to respond rapidly to emerging new drugs of abuse and regulations in relation to food and animal safety, with sixty-five new residue drug targets are currently in development to keep up with the ever changing market of food safety. Randox Food Diagnostics are ensuring that all residue screening laboratories requirements are met by providing reliable food safety screening on a global scale.
On top of the food safety product range Randox Food also offer a range of analysers, reagents and test kits for use throughout the winemaking process to ensure quality is maintained in every bottle.
For more information on what we do, please visit: www.randoxfood.com
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