Vets in the eastern half of the country are reporting an increase in cases of mastitis in cows and scour in calves due to the poor weather.

Thomas O’Shea, from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, said his practice has seen an increase in calls with mastitis in cows because they are still housed, and calves getting pneumonia and scour.

“I’d say there is a increase in the amount of stock going to the knackery for this time of the year. The weather has been tough on stock and tough on farmers. Cattle have been housed since October and they are running low on feed and straw now.

“I’m trying to advise [farmers] on vaccination programmes for scour and pneumonia diseases. Trying to get even smaller animals out by day would even help. Farmers need to talk to people – let it be discussion groups, advisers – everyone is in the same boat. It’s important not to let things get on top of them – it can be hard to have pride in the place but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it will pick up.”


Liam Anderson Porter, from Streamstown, Co Westmeath said he has seen a lot of pneumonia around and that mastitis is spreading through dairy herds.

“Nearly full herds of cows are calving and they are still in, which is highly abnormal. The highly stocked dairy farmers are struggling – no one expected this.

“We are hoping that it gets better. Farmers have been suffering – its been a seven-month winter at this stage, the weather picking up is the only thing that will help.”

In Ballyraggett, Co Kilkenny, Michael Bergin has been treating a lot of respiratory diseases in animals.

“We have been busier with this wet weather; calves are getting a lot of scour and older stock are affected with respiratory disease. The wet and wind that is constantly changing has been a big contributor to the respiratory disease.

“Housing is an issue. The heavily stocked farmers on the good ground don’t have enough shed space for housing all their stock for this length of time.

“Temporary housing, and using silage pits with good shelter could be a quick solution for some farmers. Getting some small cattle out in small numbers, a handful in a few fields could be a great help to them and take a bit of pressure off.

“Hopefully the weather will change and everything will then improve.”

Seek help

Ciaran O’Dowd, in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, has seen an increase in the number of calls related to the weather.

“We have seen cases of ketosis, more Ecoli mastitis, and a few bulling issues from cows being inside.

“However, most stock were responding well to treatment, and the numbers going to the knackery is about the usual.

“I’d advise farmers to seek help and not bury their heads in the sand – they should go and talk to other farmers and vets. There are solutions out there, they are not on their own and it will pass.

“The weather needs to change it’s been far in excess of an abnormal winter, and both fodder and straw are in short supply.

“Things needs to change quickly or I think there will be major welfare concerns coming. Fine weather is promised, so we just hope that comes through and this distressing time ends.”