VET’S DIARY: Looking back on an eventful year

I was reading the papers at the weekend and came across a column which aptly said that ‘It’s that time of year when many articles start with ‘It’s that time of year when…’, writes David Young.

So many articles and newspaper columns at the moment are filled with reflections on the year that has passed and what awaits in the coming year. I plan to do a little bit of both.

The disastrously-wet summer of 2012 has meant that parasites, both internal and external, have wreaked havoc on many of our clients’ farms with the full impact only now becoming clear.

Liver fluke is a real and increasing problem with one of our directors Andrew called out to a farm in Alnwick at the end of November to post-mortem seven ewes that had died suddenly, all presenting with the classic signs of the disease.

All of this unusual weather could be attributed to global warming and environmental changes and as a practice we like to do our bit wherever we can. Back in February, we had solar panels fitted at many of our surgeries and now enjoy watching the monitors to see which surgery enjoys the most sunshine, is it Rothbury, Wooler, Morpeth or Amble this week?

Who could forget the excitement of the Olympics that swept the country last summer?

As a practice we were proud to have one of our equine vets, Lesley Barwise-Munro, represent us at the Olympics where she worked as a field vet for the stables, training areas and cross-country course.

During the summer we also had the Alnorthumbria flag flying in Lezirias in Portugal where another of our equine vets, Rosie Mould, was the GB Team vet at the World Single Horse Carriage Driving Championships.

In October, we welcomed Haydn Price, Olympic farrier to Great Britain’s medal-winning dressage and eventing teams, along with top dressage judge Margot Tiffany to the practice as they gave presentations and demonstrations at a client evening which was standing room only.

We will take great pleasure in welcoming Haydn back again in March when he will be running a Farriers’ Training Day on Thursday, March 21, and a Client Clinic at our Equine Clinic on Friday, March 22.

I couldn’t look back over 2012 and not mention the reopening of our Wagonway Road, Alnwick, surgery in September.

It was an historic milestone for us as it’s where the roots of our practice lie and back when it originally opened in 1898 it was believed to be the first purpose-built surgery in the country.

We are proud that it has some of the most sophisticated and modern veterinary facilities in the area and that we can once again provide treatment for pets, small animals, farm animals and horses all from one surgery.

Finally, 2012 saw the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) monitoring programme come to an end.

Co-ordinated by Alnorthumbria vet Jenny Hull, the initiative aimed to find out the disease status of 37 farms in an area in the Coquet Valley, map the disease, educate farmers and landowners and compile tailored action plans to protect farms.It is hoped that those farms that tested positive will be clear this year and that ultimately the whole Coquet Valley can be kept clear of BVD.