Farm vets and internal specialist referrals

By Alice Miller BVSC DBR MRCVS Friars Moor Livestock Health

If you have been unfortunate enough to have a pet with a complicated or unknown condition, then your small animal or equine veterinary surgeon may have given you the choice of referral to a specialist hospital for further investigation or surgery.

However, those of you with farm animals are probably aware that this is not an option, because the first opinion and referral structure does not exist within farm practices.

Farm clients tend to be running commercial businesses and referral would not be a viable option in many cases, largely because farmers have several hundred animals in their flock or herd, and unlike on the pet side, insurance for each individual animal on farm would be impossible.

Also, often the individuals we treat are part of a productive flock or herd and removal from this, for any length of time would be stressful and detrimental for the animal as well as impractical, for example where dairy cows need milking twice daily in a parlour. This difference in set up however does not mean that our patients receive a substandard level of care, it just means that whilst offering the first opinion we also offer the expertise to investigate further, and we do this at Friars Moor Livestock Health by offering internal referrals, since all our clinical vets have their own specialist areas of interest as well as a broad knowledge across all farm species.

For example, Helen Rogers, John Walsh, and I all have a further degree in the Diploma of Bovine Reproduction (DBR) so have further knowledge in dairy and beef cattle fertility management. Whilst Yoav Alony-Gilboa holds the RCVS certificate in Sheep Health and Production and is a recognised Israeli specialist in Small Ruminant Health and Production. Eleanor Livingstone is currently studying for the DBR whilst Jo Childs is studying for the RCVS Sheep certificate.

Our further interests are as follows. Lucy Hepworth’s are beef and small ruminant health & production, as well as dairy youngstock and nutrition. Paul Doran’s is pathology and post-mortem investigation. Katie Harrower’s is youngstock and mastitis control. Bogdan Butnaru’s is cattle lameness and dairy goat management. Eleanor’s is mastitis, dynamic parlour testing and antibiotic reduction. Helen’s is dairy and beef health and production.

Yoav’s is sheep and goat health and production. John’s is cattle lameness, dairy youngstock and pig health and production. Jo’s is parasitology, diagnostic ultrasound lung scanning, sheep lameness and herd and flock health planning. Mine are dairy and beef heifer breeding, bull fertility testing, AI training and infectious disease control.

For further information on any of our services please visit: or call: 01258 472314.

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