A case of Schmallenberg disease (SBV) has been confirmed in a calf born to a homebred, suckler heifer on a farm outside Aberdeen – the furthest north the disease has so far been reported.

A case of Schmallenberg disease (SBV) has been confirmed in a calf born to a homebred, suckler heifer on a farm outside Aberdeen – the furthest north the disease has so far been reported.

AberdeenshireThe calf was severely deformed and the veterinary surgeon had to assist with the calving. SAC Consulting, Veterinary Services, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), carried out the postmortem examination and, together with the Moredun Research Institute, performed confirmatory tests.

Previously, the only cases of SBV in Scotland were in the south of the country, in Dumfries and Galloway. Initial investigations suggest the virus was possibly introduced with store cattle from Dumfries last autumn. It is suspected midges could have spread the virus from the store cattle to the homebred stock while the cattle were housed over the winter.

SBV has caused serious losses among cattle and sheep on some farms in England, Wales, Ireland and continental Europe. A vaccine was launched earlier this month by MSD Animal Health. This new information on the spread of SBV so far north will help to inform vets and farmers of the risks of the further spread of SBV over the coming summer and autumn.

SRUC advises farmers who encounter fetal abnormalities, stillbirths or newborns showing signs of nervous disease should contact their vet or local SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services Disease Surveillance Centre. Farmers are also being told other diseases can cause birth defects in lambs and calves, so they should not assume cases are due to SBV infection.

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