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Spring Update

By Hazell Mullins | March 20th, 2020

And suddenly its March, was it just me or was February a little bit of a blur? In Cork, spring started very early this year around the 20th of January. I would never have considered myself an anxious person but from some reason this year the impending spring madness was making me feel ill with nerves.  Once I got stuck into those 2 am C sections, the mountain of E.coli mastitis cases and the odd RDA I began to enjoy the buzz of spring time again despite the constant wave of weariness. My non vet/ farming friends are fully aware of the dreaded “S” word and they are always great at motivating me and telling me I will get though it. 

Early February for me was filled with exciting calvings, I had four schistosome reflexus C sections which is three more than in the entirety of last years spring. I always like to take photos to document the successful calving which also act as a reminder of better times when the don’t go to plan. 

I am glad to say my live calf rate is much higher than last year, I think this is due to better farmer awareness of issues such as deformities and twisted uterus so they are calling earlier. I have seen lots of milk fever cases, Ecoli mastitis cases, calf pneumonia and scour cases are on the increase this month especially. In general  I do feel  preventative measures like vaccinations and good hygiene protocols are lessening the “sick calf” calls this year. I know its early days just yet and the infection pressure is building in sheds but hopefully drier days are ahead and animals will be able to go outside soon. 

Speaking of drier days, one of the most challenging aspects of spring 2020 for me was the weather. Finally it has reached the 19th of March and our old glowing orange friend in the sky has decided to make an appearance. It’s been tough getting up close and personal with Brendan, Ciara and Denis, to name just a few. Unfortunately these storms didn’t understand the term ‘social distancing” at the time and they made life extremely difficult for everyone in the agricultural community. 

This brings me swiftly on to our next challenge of spring, Covid-19. It is difficult to fully socially distance when on farm I have found. Surgery is the main issue as you do need the farmer to help at certain parts of routine surgeries. I have comments mid surgery about how “we’re not doing well at this social distancing; are we?”, I am going to start to pack masks in the surgery kit going forward for both me and the farmer. to try limit any exposure to the virus. I am very happy to say that in general everyone is playing their part on farm and farmers are very aware of the risks that we mutually process and that social distancing is essential. 

One farmer was minding his children due to school closures and the main thing on his mind was to make sure they knew not to get too close to me whilst working. It was sad as these children are usually so intrigued by what I am doing and I love to give them little jobs to feel more involved. For now, we as vets need to follow these social rules and try our best to stay healthy to continue to provide a service to our clients and their animals. Abbeyville my practice have been very proactive in trying to keep us all safe, implementing disinfecting guidelines and staff segregation, I know don’t enter the building and get all my supplies dropped outside to collect. I miss my colleagues and the social interactions within the practice but I know it’s the best way to ensure we keep this show on the road.

I hope everyone stays safe at this time, spring time can be a lonely and isolating time as it is without the added complication of Covid-19 so try and use time between calls to stay connected with friends and colleagues.  


“Every storm runs out of rain” – Maya Angelou

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