A NEW post-mortem service for farm livestock is being launched in the region.

Animals which die on farm can provide useful information about diseases which might affect the rest of the herd or flock.

Systematic post-mortem examination of fallen stock can make a real difference to farm bottom lines because it allows prompt and effective disease control measures to be put in place.

With this in mind, EBLEX has funded a project – starting on March 24 – which aims to provide an inexpensive and easily accessible post-mortem service based at J Warren ABP in Hamsterley, near Bishop Auckland.

The carcase will be collected as usual and the post mortem completed in a dedicated post-mortem room at the collection centre by Ben Strugnell, a farm vet specialising in livestock post mortems.

Instead of delivering the carcase to a VI centre for a post mortem, busy farmers can get on with daily jobs while the carcase is collected and post mortemed.

The post-mortem room will be manned six days a week – sometimes seven – so that animals which are found sick or dead on a Friday or Saturday afternoon will be able to be post mortemed.

Results will be reported back to the farmer and his vet the next day, or in some cases the same day, by text, fax, email or phone.

To benefit from the new service the farmer needs to request a post mortem when the carcase is collected.

Costs (ex VAT), which include simple lab tests are £20 for a lamb, £25 for a ewe or tup, £30 for a calf less than six months old, £50 for a beast six to 24 months old, and £70 for a cow or bull.

The project coincides with the recently-announced closures of some Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) regional laboratories, including Newcastle, which have provided a subsidised necropsy-based diagnostic service until now.

However, the project is designed to complement, rather than replace, the diagnostic and surveillance functions provided by the remaining AHVLA network.

As the year progresses, the project plans to issue alerts when seasonal diseases occur, so that farmers can treat promptly for things such as fluke, nematodirus and other forms of parasitic gastroenteritis, lungworm and bovine pneumonia.

For more details, contact Ben Strugnell on 07899 950372, or J Warren ABP on 01388 488115.