Bluetongue (BTV-8) virus is actively circulating in France and the risk of the infection reaching the UK in midges is estimated at 80% by September by DEFRA.
We are therefore advising our sheep and cattle clients to vaccinate all their stock.
We will shortly be buying vaccine. The cost of the two injections required for cattle is likely to be about £3, for sheep about halve that.
There is plenty of information about the disease online. A good starting point is the NFU site https://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/bluetongue-what-you-need-to-know/#adviceforfar.
Sheep are more likely to look ill but cattle can get a fever and sore coronary bands, (may be reluctant to move), nasal and ocular discharges, and small blood spots under the skin of mouth muzzle and coronary band. Cattle are the main reservoir of infection.
The disease is notifiable so if you suspect you have cases you should contact either ourselves or the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA – a DEFRA agency) directly on 03000 200 301. There are lots of reasons why sheep and cattle can show similar signs so if in doubt we will be informing them.