VET’S DIARY: June is busting out all over – already!

WITH the recent flurry of bank holiday weekends, the year seems to have been passing without even noticing – I can’t quite believe that it’s June already, writes Dominic Plumley.

It’s tempting to think that summer has been and gone, though I was warned by the guys at Willowburn Nursery about putting plants out last weekend in case of frost.

I’m not sure if they are late frosts from last winter or early ones from next winter.

On the farm front, our vets have been very busy with the usual problems associated with lambing and spring calving

In general, things have gone well, with the good early weather helping the grass to grow and the new born to get a good start in life.

Spring is always a productive time and though undoubtedly hard work for all concerned, there is something very satisfying about seeing healthy lambs and calves born and thrive.

However, the optimism that this season brings is always tinged with a little anxiety as problems can have a significant impact on farm profitability for the rest of the year.

Previous and continuing veterinary attention to herd and flock problems has helped to reduce the incidence of genuine disasters through this time where stakes are high and emotions mixed.

The successful use of vaccination programmes in both breeding cattle and sheep have helped to ensure that losses of lambs and calves on epidemic scales are few and far between.

And most of our farmers are looking forward to the quieter summer months ahead, secure in the knowledge that spring has been good.

On the horse front, our team of vets are getting very excited about our new equine hospital situated next door to our Morpeth small animal centre at Fairmoor.

The building is starting to come together nicely. Yet again, DP Builders are doing a first class job for us, ably guided by Richard Sullivan, both of whom have done excellent work for us in the recent past.

The equine facilities promise to be superb, which will enable us to significantly develop the service that we are able to offer our clients.

Situated immediately off the A1, we have plenty of room for horse wagons so access should be very simple.

If all goes to plan, the new equine hospital should be operational sometime around the end of August beginning of September, so watch out for notices publicising the grand opening.

It is tempting to take our gorgeous beaches and wonderful hills for granted when they are on our own doorstep, but in spite of the national economic pressures that we are all experiencing, Northumberland appears to continue to be a popular holiday destination, judging by the number of dogs that we have seen belonging to visitors to the area over the last few bank holiday weekends.

For the most part, these cases tend to be dogs that have either had altercations with each other while on the beach or alternatively have gone lame after the unusually long walks they have been getting while on their hols.

Thankfully, we haven’t seen a significant number of adder bites this year; a common seasonal problem around about this time.

Potentially fatal, dogs, or any animal for that matter that is unfortunate enough to come across a lazy, post-hibernation snake and be bitten should be taken for immediate veterinary care.

Having said how wonderful Northumberland is, this coming weekend sees a number of us heading out of the county to take on the Three Peaks Challenge.

With the highest mountain in Scotland, Ben Nevis, first on the radar we will hope to do better than another team that recently took on the challenge only to climb the wrong mountain.

When quizzed about their error they simply replied that they went up the one that looked the biggest from where they had parked the minibus.

Let’s hope our navigation is a little better.