Mastitis is an infection of the udder most commonly by bacteria commonly found within the environment. Early recognition and treatment is important because systemic spread of this bacteria can occur.



1) Inject 5 ml Oxytocin

2) Strip milk from quarter as often as possible.  (Oxytocin will help milk let down)

3) Inject 1ml/15kg (i.e. 33ml/500kg) Tribactral daily for 3 - 5 days.

4) Inject 4ml/100kg (i.e. 20ml/500kg) flunixin daily for up to 3 days.

5) If cow is showing systemic signs including inappetence or depression then a vet visit is necessary. (Intravenous fluids or Stomach tube may be required)



         There are 2 options for these cows.

                1) Culling the cow.


                2) Drying off the affected quarter.


Oxytocin -            milk – nil    meat - nil

Cepravin LC         milk - 3 days       meat -  7 days       

Erymicin               milk - 3 days       meat - 14 days

Lincocin forte     milk - 4 days       meat - 30 days

Flunixin                milk – 36 hours meat -  7 days

Orbenin LC          milk - 4 days       meat - 28 days



1) If the teat is dirty wash with clean water and dry with paper towel.

2) Vigorously wipe the end of the teat with cotton wool dipped in methylated spirit.

3) Take lid off bottle being careful not to allow contamination of bottle or lid with dirt or  dust.  (Hold the lid upside down in your hand)

4)  Put the first two or three spuirts of milk onto the ground.

5) hold the bottle on an angle so that dust and dirt falling from the udder does not contaminate samples and squirt the next two or three squirts of milk directly into the bottle.              

6) Replace the lid immediately being careful not to contaminate the sample with fingers.

7)  If there is a risk that the sample has been contaminated repeat the process using a new bottle.               

8) Place the sample in the refrigerator if it is going to be delivered to the vet clinic within 12 hours or alternatively freeze immediately and deliver to the vet clinic  at your convenience.

9) Please bring the milk samples to the clinic in an esky with a cold brick.  It is very important that frozen samples do not thaw vefore they get to the lab.  Provide some details of the cow’s history and nature of the mastitis when delivering the sample.



The most common causes of lameness seen in beef cattle are foot root, foot abscess or trauma related injuries. Footrot is an infection of the skin between the toes that occurs most frequently when cows are in wet and muddy environments.


1) Examine the leg for any external wounds or damaged skin between the toes.

2) If footrot (swelling and broken skin between toes with foul smell) is the cause.

     a)       Inject 1ml/10kg Alamycin LA into the muscle, repeat in 3 days if necessary.

     b)      If no improvement within 2-3 days then call west coast vets.      

3) Claw lesions (abscesses etc) often require hoof trimming or the application of a cow-slip to the sound claw.  A vet visit may be required.

4) A vet visit may also be required if

   a) lesions are severe

   b) the cow is not responding to treatment

   c) the cause of lameness is not obvious



Alamycin LA 300                milk - 7 days       meat – 35 days



Calving paralysis is the result of damage to the nerves that run adjacent to the pelvic canal. During difficult calving’s excessive pressure on these nerves result in trauma and prevent nerves functioning as they would resulting in muscular weakness/paralysis.


1) Inject 4ml/100kg of flunixin immediately after calving, then daily for 2 more days.

2) Inject 20 - 25 mls of Alamycin 10 once daily for 3 - 5 days OR 1ml/10kg of Alamycin  LA once then repeated in 3 days time if the cow is sick and depressed or if she has trauma to her vagina and vulva.

3) Ensure there is no other contributing problem (Milk fever, Dislocated Hip, Fractured Leg, Mastitis).

*IF uncertain whether or not there is a contributing problem don’t hesitate to call west coast vets.

4) Nurse as for Downer Cow.  (See Downer Cow Treatment Protocol.)


Flunixin                milk – 36                              meat - 7 days

Alamycin 10        milk – 60 hours meat - 15 days

Alamycin LA 300     milk – 7 days                meat – 35 days




Milk fever aka hypocalcaemia is the result of low blood calcium levels that occurs most commonly around the time of parturition. It is characterized by muscle weakness where the cow goes down, depression and anorexia. In severe cases circulatory collapse and unconsciousness can occur.  


1) Inject 2 bags calcigol plus solution under the skin away from the front leg.

2) Prop the cow into the sitting position and provide shade.

3) Encourage the cow to stand after 2 hours.  If necessary assist by use of the Cow  Jack Sling or Hip clamps.

4) If the cow is still down after 6 hours request a vet to visit.



5) Cows treated intensively and promptly in the first 12 hours have the greatest chance  of recovery.

6) treat non-responding cows as for Downer cow.(see Downer Cow Treatment Protocol)


Calcigol plus ni


1) Establish the reason for inability to stand.

                                - milk fever

                                - calving paralysis

                                - dislocated hip

                                - mastitis

                                - injury

                                - three day sickness


2) Treatment, Nursing and/or Vet Visit must be carried out within the first 12 hours.

3) remove animal from concrete or hard ground and provide soft bedding if at all  possible.

4) Turn the animal at least twice each day, preferably three or four times.

5) Provide shade. (On hot days it is essential to provide shade promptly and to pour  water over the animal to keep it cool.)

6) provide clean cool drinking water and feed.

7) Encourage cow to stand often.  If unsuccessful lift twice each day.                             

Cow Jack Sling   15 - 30 min

Hip Clamps  limit use to 10 min

8) Milk cow twice daily


1) Inject 5 ml of Oxytocin 12 - 24 hours after calving if the membranes have not been expelled.

2) Cut the membranes off at the level of the vulva. (Do not attempt to pull the membranes out)

3) If the cow is sick (temp >40 oC, not eating or not milking) inject 20 -25 ml engemycin once a day for 3 - 5 days OR 1ml/10kg Alamycin LA once only then repeated in 3 days time

4) If the cow does not return to full health despite antibiotic treatment, request a vet visit. (She may have another contributing problem eg. Ketosis, Displaced  abomasum)

5) Inject 5 ml Lutalyse 3 weeks after calving.

6) record for post natal examination at your next vet visit.


Oxytocin               milk - nil                               meat - nil

Alamycin 10        milk – 60 hours meat - 15 days

Alamycin LA 300     milk – 7 days      meat – 35 days

Lutalyse                milk - nil                               meat - 3 days




Causes of failure to conceive include:

  • Anoestrus

  • Freemartinism

  • Obesity

  • Certain infectious diseases

  • Bull factors


The most important thing to remember with these cows is that you must continue to mate them at each heat.

If no conception after treatment advise breeding soundness examination OR cull the cow.



Pink eye is an infection of the eye itself by a bacteria that invades when the corneal integrity is compromised. Most commonly occurs in dusty, dry environments where there are a lot of flies.

1) Apply Opticlox Eye Ointment to the affected eye. Ensure there is no foreign body within the eye.

2) After 3 days examine the eye.

4) If the eye is still cloudy apply more Opticlox Eye Ointment. If there is no improvement or considerable ulceration call west coast vets.

5) In severe cases (extensive redness, cloudiness or blindness) or if the eye fails to respond to treatment a vet visit is recommended to prevent further damage. eg. eyeball rupture.


Veterinary treatment will be either:

a) injection of drugs into the tissues surrounding the eye.

b) stitching the eyelids closed.


Opticlox Eye Ointment   nil



There are many causes of calf scours including nutritional, bacterial and parasitic causes. The factors involved in development of this syndrome are many and varied including sudden changes in management and poor environmental hygiene. If you are inexperienced in managing calf scours an initial vet visit is highly recommended.


1) Ensure calves always have a supply of clean, cool drinking water.

2) Continue feeding milk twice daily.

3) Feed 2 - 4 litres of Lectade or Vytrate electrolyte solution daily until the calf stops scouring.  Other alternatives include mega-lyte plus. Allow 2 hours between milk feed and electrolye.

4) Oral antibiotics are not needed in many cases of calf scours.  If considered necessary administer Neosulcin tablets daily for 3 - 4 days.

5) If the calf is moderately depressed inject 1ml/15kg Tribactral daily for 3 - 5 days.

6) In severe cases call west coast vets.

7) If the calf is older than 3 weeks, has blood in the scour and is straining to pass manure, Coccidiosis is highly likely.

Inject 1ml/15kg Tribactral daily for 3 - 5 days

Administer Baycox  1 ml / 10 kg once,


8) Valuable calves that are severely depressed should be brought to the Vet clinic to be put on an intravenous drip.  The earlier these calves are treated the better chance they have of full recovery.



Electrolytes          nil

Neosulcin             meat - 14 days

Tribactral              meat - 14 days

Baycox                  meat – 70 daysl



Joint ill is a bacterial infection within the joint. In calves the development of joint ill can be systemic spread of bacteria via the blood stream from a different area of infection i.e. umbilicus or direct injury to the joint. It is more common in calves that do not receive adequate colostrum and exposed to dirty environments.  


1) Dip the naval of all calves with a strong iodine solution as soon as possible after birth.  A second dipping 6 - 12 hours later may be of benefit if a problem exists.

2) Inject 2ml/50kg BW once a day for 7 - 10 days.


*In severe cases a vet visit may be required as further assessment and therapy may be required


3) Treatment must be started early and longer courses of antibiotics will be needed in some calves.  Herds which are experiencing problems with joint ill should examine the cleanliness of the calving and calf rearing environments.  A vet visit may be of assistance in some cases to help outline problem areas.



Alamycin 10        meat - 15 days



TICK FEVER        

Tick fever is a syndrome caused by the organisms Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina. These organisms are spread through tick bites. This syndrome is significant as can cause economic loss through abortion, illthrift and death of cattle. This disease is found in tropical and semi-tropical regions of Australia.


All cattle should be vaccinated for Tick Fever. 


1) All calves should be vaccinated at 3 - 9 months of age.

2) Inject 2 ml vaccine under the skin high up on the neck.

3) All introductions should be vaccinated preferably 4 - 6 weeks before they arrive on farm.  Alternatively vaccinate new cattle soon after arrival.

4) the vaccine can cause abortion if given to pregnant cows.  If you have any concerns regarding vaccinating pregnant animals contact the Vet Clinic. 


Note: This is less of a problem in the south west of WA however be aware of this if buying cattle from northern regions of the state.




Vibrio is a bacterial infection with Campylobacter foetus venerealis. This bacteria is transmitted through breeding and can result in markedly reduced pregnancy rates in newly affected herds.


All bulls should be vaccinated for Vibrio.  Vaccination is a relatively cheap insurance against a disease that can have disastrous effects on the reproductive health of a herd.


                1) Inject correct dose of vaccine under the skin high up on the neck.


                2) A second dose is given as a booster  4 - 6 weeks after the first.


                3) All bulls should receive another booster every 12 months.



Leptospriosis does not cause significant economic loss in the majority of herds on the Tableland.  It does however have a very important Human Health implication.  Leptosirosis is a disease that can be transmitted from cattle to people and causes a debilitating illness.  We recommend that cattle be vaccinated against Lepto. to protect you and your family as well as allowing you to provide a safe working environment for employees.

1) Inject 2 ml vaccine under the skin high up on the neck at 6 months of age.

2) A second 2 ml dose is given as a booster 4 - 6 weeks after the first.

3) All cows and heifers receive a 2 ml booster annually.

5 in 1 (Clostridial diseases)


Clostridial diseases cause sudden death particularly in heifers.  we recommend any herd that has had unexplained sudden deaths in young stock during the last 5 years vaccinate against these diseases.


1) Inject 4 ml vaccine under the skin high up on the neck at 4 - 6 months of age.

2) A second 2 ml dose is given as a booster 4 - 6 weeks after the first.

3) All cows and heifers receive a 2 ml booster annually.

7 in 1 ( Clostridial diseases plus Leptospirosis)


This vaccine can be used in herds that wish to vaccinate for both the Clostridial diseases and Leptospirosis.  7 in 1 given using the same protocol as 5 in1.


Annual Health Care


1) All cattle should be vaccinated before 3 months of life and then given a booster in 6 weeks time for clostridial diseases and leptospirosis.

2) All breeding bulls should be vaccinated for vibrio.

3 All cattle should be wormed regularly. Worming should be done at weaning and in May, August and November. When you worm in February use a white drench or ivermectin. Otherwise worm if indicated i.e. diarrhoea, wasting or have high worm egg counts.

4) Examine your herds feet once a year and if required have them trimmed to reduce the incidence of lameness.

5) Trace element and mineral supplementation as required depending on land management and animal type.


A healthy horse will:

  • Have a temperature of 37.5 – 38.5°C

  • Check your horse’s temperature using a clean, digital rectal thermometer. An abnormal temperature could be the result of exercise, stress or infection.

  • Have a pulse of 38 – 40 beats/min

  • Check your horse’s pulse from an area under the jaw, beneath the tail or from an area on the side of the hoof. Count the beats over a 15 second interval and multiply by 4. (Foal’s heart rate: 70-120bpm, yearling’s heart rate: 45-60bpm).

  • Have a breathing rate of 8 – 15 breaths/min

  • Check your horse’s breathing rate by counting the breaths (inhale and exhale is one breath) per minute. You can do this by watching and feeling the nostrils and ribcage. Wait at least 30min after walking/ exercising before you check.

  • Have gurgling sounds in the stomach

  • Check your horse’s stomach sounds by pressing your ear just behind their last rib, at the upper and lower end of the horse’s flank. Ensure you check both sides. You should be able to hear a sound every few seconds. If you are unable to hear any sounds, it could be an indication of issues surround digestion and/or intestinal movement and you should call the veterinary clinic.

  • Be hydrated

  • You can check for dehydration symptoms in your horse in several ways, the easiest being:

  • The skin pinch test. Pinch a small piece of skin on the neck or shoulder area and if   the skin remains elevated for more than one second, dehydration is possible.

  • Capillary refill test. Press one finger on an area of the gum above the teeth. Release your finger when the gums turn pale pink in colour. Normal colour should return within 1-2 seconds. If not, dehydration may be apparent.


What should your first aid kit include?

  • Hoof shape poultice

  • Square lintex style poultice

  • Elastoplast

  • Conforming gauze bandage

  • Cotton wool

  • Gauze swabs

  • Vet wrap bandage

  • Disposable gloves

  • Scissors

  • Digital thermometer

  • Stethoscope

  • Betadine or chlorhexidine scrub

  • Antiseptic cream/ointment

  • Pink spray



Common equine health conditions that you can treat from home


Scraped skin which may bleed/ ooze with pus.

Treatment: Clean the affected area with salt water/ saline, then apply Purple spray (to prevent infection). Continue to moisturise and repeat until abrasion heals.

When to call WCVH: If wound is not healing or area has become swollen, hot or painful.

Insect bite

A visible bump and irritation of the skin (caused from insects such as biting flies)

Treatment: Wash the bite with water, ensure the area is dry and then apply Aloe Vera ointment or derma gel (to reduce swelling and protect the area). Ensure to reduce exposure to insects by rugging or using some type of insect repellent i.e. repel-X.

When to call WCVH: If horse has many insects bites that are causing severe irritation and scratching then a vet may be required to give medications to reduce the irritation.

Greasy heel

An infected wound (crack in the skin) around the horse’s pastern (heel; directly above the hoof), resulting in swelling and mild to significant lameness. Commonly a result of the horse living in wet conditions.

Treatment:  wash the affected area with antibiotic/antiseptic scrub (chlorhexidine) ensuring to remove all scabs. Then dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Then, apply an antiseptic skin ointment or barrier cream such as prednoderm.

When to call WCVH: If there is severe lameness, swelling around the pastern or severe crusting.


Bruising is often the result of trauma (such as bumping into a solid object, being kicked, etc). It is usually detected as swelling under the skin, heat radiating from the area and/ or a painful reaction when you apply pressure.

Treatment: As is human’s bruises will tend to heal on their own. However cold therapy, such as applying a cold pack or cold hose water may help to reduce inflammation and ease the pain.

When to call WCVH: If the area becomes more swollen or painful, or if there is no resolution after 3-5 days then a vet may be required.  

Hoof Abscess

An accumulation of pus within the hoof due to invasion of bacteria through cracks or other defects in the hoof capsule. This can cause sudden onset lameness, as well as sensitivity to hoof testers (pressure put on the hoof) and an increased digital pulse.

Treatment: Mix Epsom salts in a bucket of warm water and submerge the full hoof (up to the coronary band) for 10 minutes. Soak a hoof shape lintex style poultice in hot water and squeeze out excess water. Place poultice over the sole of the hoof. Place a square of cotton wool over the sole and up over the coronary band. Secure in place with vet wrap, covered by Elastoplast. Remove and replace the poultice after 24 hours. The poultice should assist in drawing out the infection and keep the area clean and protected from further infection. Continue to poultice until horse is no longer lame.

When to call WCVH: If there is no improvement after poultice has been on for 3- 5 days, if there is swelling extending up the leg or you are concerned that your horse may have stood on something sharp.


Reasons to call the clinic


Colic is a common term used to describe any cause of abdominal pain. There are numerous causes of colic in horses that can result in mild to severe abdominal pain and discomfort. Some simple causes of colic include an abrupt change in feed, sand ingestion, dehydration and/or stress. However there are many other causes that can be severe to life threatening.  

Symptoms of colic often include:

  • Pawing at the ground

  • Consistent and aggressive rolling

  • Continuous posturing to urinate without urinating

  • Loss of appetite

  • Excessive sweating

  • Abnormally high pulse rate

  • Lack of normal gut sounds

  • Lack of defecation

Treatment: There are several different treatment methods available for horses with colic, however, it is very much based on each horse. Some will require simple medical therapy, whilst others will result in the need for surgery or potential euthanasia, dependent on the severity. For this reason, colic should be treated as an emergency and you should contact the clinic as soon as symptoms are recognised.

What you can do: Gather as much information for your veterinarian as possible, such as; temperature and heart rate, as well as making sure to take notice of signs of defecation and/or unusual behaviour. Ensure to ask the vet for instructions as to what you can do while you wait for them to arrive.



Laminitis is an inflammation of the laminae of the hoof (the soft tissue layers that connect the pedal bone to the hoof wall). This inflammation often results in severe pain and lameness.

Laminitis is rarely a condition that occurs on its own. Normally there is an underlying cause that needs to be identified and removed to effectively treat and prevent this condition from happening in the future.

Symptoms for laminitis often include:

  • An increased amplitude of digital pulse around the fetlock.

  • Lameness or short choppy gait

  • Tentative to place weight on front feet. Less commonly it can occur in the hind feet.

  • Sometimes your horse may appear unwell which could indicate a potential cause of the laminitis.  

  • Things that you can do: Stand your horse in a bucket of ice for 10-20 minutes. Then place your horse into a deep sand box and remove any concentrate or high energy feed. 



Choke is where your horse gets an obstruction within their oesophagus. Most commonly it is food material that causes this obstruction and is seen when horses eat quickly without adequate chewing. Less commonly it can be caused by foreign objects.

What you will see is your horse will become distressed, hold its head extended, increased salivation and occasionally a nasal discharge that contains feed material.

What you can do: Remove any remaining feed or water access from horse. Place your horse in a quiet stall and keep calm. Call WCVH as medical treatment is required and generally involves passing a tube to try to remove the obstruction.


Other reasons to call the vet

  • Lacerations involving joint, tendons or tongue

  • Wounds that are excessively bleeding, contaminated or large

  • Puncture injury to the foot by a sharp object i.e. nail

  • Lameness

  • Generally unwell

  • Eye injuries



Emergency First Aid:


Excessive bleeding

If a wound is excessively bleeding immediately apply a pressure bandage. To do this: place a handful of gauze swabs to the wound, wrap in cotton wool and apply vetwrap firmly around the wound. Then contact WCVH immediately.


Cold therapy

Cold therapy is useful when your horse has an acute injury as will help to reduce the degree of swelling and helps by providing some pain relief. How this occurs is the application of something cold causes the blood vessels to the area to constrict reducing blood flow to the area and thus reducing the degree of inflammation and pain associated with the injury.


Cold hose for 10-15 minutes over the area of injury

Apply ice or cold packs for 10 minutes to the area of injury.


Additional Information

Indicators of parturition (foaling):

  • Length of gestation can range from 320-365 days. Average is 341 days.

  • They develop an udder usually within 2 weeks of foaling

  • They ‘wax-up’ (dried milk on end of teats) usually 24 hours prior to foaling.

  • The milk/colostrum has a decrease in pH just prior to foaling.


Normal stages of Labour:

There are three stages of labour in the mare

Stage 1:

  • Can last from 1-4 hours

  • The mare starts to act restless including starting to pace, circle, get up and lie down frequently. She may also pass frequent piles of manure or urine and show colic signs.

Stage 2:

  • This is the stage where the foal is actually born

  • This stage will normally last 15-20 minutes. Any longer than this is a concern.

  • It begins with the waters breaking, followed by the front feet and head of the foal.

  • The foal will be covered with a thin membrane during birth. If this does not rupture during the birthing process, tear open and remove from the foals head to allow it to breathe.

  • If you see a red membrane coming out of the vulva this is known as red bad and is an emergency. Contact WCVH immediately.

Stage 3:

  • Expulsion of the placenta.

  • If the placenta is not expelled within 3 hours it is considered retained and you should contact WCVH.

  • Carefully examine the placenta to ensure it is all expelled. If you think there is some remaining within the mare then contact WCVH as it could make the mare very sick.


Normal Foal Behaviour after birth:

  • The foal should be up and standing within 2 hours after birth. Longer than this is abnormal.

  • Normally the foal will be nursing within 2 hours of birth. If the foal has not nursed by 4 hours after birth this is abnormal.

  • Foals normally have frequent periods of sleep for short periods of time

  • A foal will normally breath rapidly for the first hour after birth but should steadily reduce to about 30 breaths per minute after that.

  • You may notice your foal straining to defecate within a few hours of birth, this is normal as it is them trying to pass there meconium. Most of the meconium is passed within the first 24 hrs of life. If you notice excessive straining after this period and/or no production of meconium you need to contact WCVH.

  • It is normal for your foal to pass large volumes of dilute urine frequently. This is due to the large amount of milk consumed.


Routine Husbandry:


Ideally worming should be based on faecal worm egg counts.

Otherwise, quarterly drenching with a broad spectrum anthelmintic is advised.

You should rotate the wormers you use between a macrocyclic lactone (i.e. ivermectin) and other broad spectrum anthelmintic’s (i.e.pyrantel etc) to reduce the development of resistance.

Deworm foals every 2 months starting at 2 months until 12 months of age.



Tetanus is a very serious disease caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Treatment for this disease is very difficult and prevention through vaccination is very effective.

If vaccinating young horses, vaccination must be after 3 months of age.

The vaccination protocol is two tetanus toxoids 3-4 weeks apart followed by annual vaccination boosters.

Boosters should also be given after any serious laceration or to broodmares ~28 days before foaling.


  • Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection by the bacteria streptococcus equi subspecies equi. This is a disease of only horses, donkey’s and mules.

  • Presentation of the disease is variable but will often involve a purulent nasal discharge, coughing, swelling under mandible, head and neck extension.

  • Treatment will depend on the presentation of the disease but often involves antibiotics.

  •  This disease is preventable by vaccination.

  • Vaccination protocol: If never vaccinated before your horse should receive 3 injections 2 weeks apart with a strangles vaccine, then annually.

  • Young horses should be vaccinated from 3 months of age.

  • Vaccination of broodmares should be 2-4 weeks prior to foaling.

Hendra Virus

  • Hendra is caused by a virus spread by fruit bats that results in a fatal lower respiratory tract infection in horses. This disease can present in number of ways including respiratory signs, generally ill, neurological signs or sudden death.  

  • This disease is ZOONOTIC meaning it can be transmitted to humans and can be fatal. Severe caution should be taken if you suspect Hendra and it is advised to contact your vet immediately.

  • This disease is currently not seen in southern areas of WA, however this can change.

  • A vaccination is available and for more information contact WCVH.


  • Routine farriery should be performed every 4-6 weeks depending on the conformation of your horses feet.

  • Dentistry

  • Your horses teeth are very important for their overall health, as correct mastication allows proper digestion of feed and thus the most efficient use of nutrients for growth and repair.

  • It is recommended to have a dental exam performed every 6 months for the first 4-5 years, then annually after that.

  • If you suspect a problem such as your horse is dropping feed, losing weight, has bad breath or not chewing correctly then a dental exam is recommended. 

West Coast


Revolutionising veterinary care in Western Australia

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram