At this stage most cows have been treated for parasites. As I often hear vets saying; ‘common things are common’, so lice, worms and fluke are common in dairy herds.

Animals can be treated for lice anytime and they often need two doses. It’s the same with fluke. Remember, there are two types of fluke; liver and rumen fluke and there are different stages of each, with early immature, immature and mature fluke.

The prevalence of fluke varies between herds. Whether or not you need to dose for fluke will depend on diagnostic tests such as bulk milk and dung samples.

Farms that have rumen fluke usually need to dose twice during the dry period as the doses for rumen fluke only kill adult flukes so the younger flukes don’t get treated at the first dose.


Aside from parasites, January is also the month where many farmers administer vaccines. The three most common vaccines administered in January are scour, IBR, BVD and leptospirosis.

The scour vaccine covers calves against rota virus scour and should be given between three and 12 weeks before calving.

For adequate protection, calves will need to be fed milk from vaccinated cows for the first two to three weeks of age. This may be a challenge for farmers using milk replacer and involved in Johnes control programmes.

The traditional time for lepto and BVD vaccines was usually in April – after calving and before breeding but an increasing number of farmers are moving these vaccines to January.

Similarly, IBR vaccine should be given in January, prior to the peak stress period of calving. As with all thing veterinary, speak to your vet to arrange a tailored plan for you farm.