So far this year SAC has confirmed 72 calves with Bovine Neonatal Pancytopenia (BNP) or Bleeding Calf Syndrome.
SAC vet Douglas Gray
These calves came from 61 farms (6 dairy farms and 55 beef suckler farms) with submissions received by all of Scotland’s 8 Disease Surveillance Centres. Four of the beef farms involved had cases diagnosed in their calves in 2009.
SAC Consulting, Veterinary Services was first presented with a suspected case of BNP in April of 2009. There had been reports of the condition elsewhere in Europe during 2008. In 2009 SAC confirmed 48 cases of BNP on 35 farms in Scotland. The condition is confirmed by post-mortem examination and the study of bone marrow cells.
Together with colleagues in the Veterinary Laboratories agency (VLA), the Dick Vet in Edinburgh, the Moredun Research Institute and overseas, SAC is working to gain a better understanding of BNP. Preparations are being made by the partners for a case-control study, based on knowledge gained through the post-mortems of suspect BNP cases previously offered free of charge to farmers and their vets and which, for the moment, are continuing.
Affected calves are aged less than 28 days old. They can have a persistent fever with bleeding from the nose, gums, ear-tag holes and injection sites. There may even be intestinal bleeding with calves passing dark, tarry dung. Most calves were growing well before showing clinical signs, with no history of prior problems. However it should be stressed that some calves can die without any noticeable signs of bleeding. What causes this syndrome is unknown but it is believed many factors may be involved.
SAC vets are grateful for the co operation of farmers and their vets. It is believed the increase in numbers during 2010 may be due in part to raised awareness of the condition amongst producers. We continue to urge any farmers who believe they have a case, to contact their own vets first.
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