Dairy Cattle

  • Bovine Embryo Flushing, Transfer & Storage
  • Calf Health Monitoring
  • Farmer Training
  • Fertility
  • Herd Plans
  • Mastitis
  • Lameness
  • On-Farm Surgery
  • Post mortems
  • Premium Cattle Health Scheme Checks
  • TB & Other OV Services
  • Dispensary

Bovine Embryo Flushing, Transfer & Storage

We have an approved Embryo Transfer laboratory in our Norwich clinic. We are officially licenced for the collection, transfer and storage of bovine embryos for domestic use only.

Flushing – We will advise you on the suitability of an intended donor and it is a requirement that the cow or heifer undergoes a fertility examination, a review of their reproductive history and when deemed necessary health checks (diseases, mineral status, etc).

Flushing programmes and the pharmaceutical products required will be provided. There are several different programmes and the one most suitable for your animal will be selected. The doses and timings of treatments will be clearly detailed for you to follow.

Storage – After flushing, any embryos collected are examined, and if deemed suitable for immediate transfer (“fresh” transfer) or for freezing (storage), they are then rinsed and cleaned through a series of steps. The embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen flasks at -192°C. We have successfully transferred embryos that have been stored for a number of years and in some instances several years after their mother and father have passed away.

Transfer – Embryos can be transferred “fresh” or “frozen”. The latter type of transfer involves a simple thawing procedure similar to how semen is thawed before AI. An added difficulty with the transfer of embryos (compared to AI) is that embryos are transferred approximately 7 days after the recipient was on bull (in oestrus). Therefore, the cervix is closed and it can be tricky to pass the transfer gun through it and up the correctly, pre-determined uterine horn. To help us to do this it is a legal requirement to give an epidural anaesthetic to all recipients (as it is to all donors).

As with the donors, we will produce a donor synchronisation programme if several donors are to receive embryos at the same time. Again, we will need to see the recipients and carry out tests if deemed necessary and importantly, in the case of heifer recipients, carry out checks to assess and ensure that they will be able to calve normally.

Calf Health Monitoring

Prevention of problems is obviously better than cure! To this extent, we encourage active participation in surveillance and monitoring of calf health and performance.

Pneumonia – As well as advice on housing, airflow, calf comfort, etc, we can sample groups of calves to identify the pathogens involved for more specific, effective treatments and vaccine use.

Common calf respiratory pathogens: RSV, PI3, IBR, Mycoplasma bovis, Mannheimia haemolytica and Haemophilus somnus

Scours – Samples can be tested on-farm or sent to diagnostic laboratories. Advice on management, prevention and treatments can then be given for any problems being experienced.

Common calf (and young ruminant) enteric pathogens: E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Rotavirus, Coronavirus, BVD, Coccidia, endoparasites and fluke

Colostrum – The quality of the colostrum being taken by your calves and quantity of antibodies absorbed are vitally important in the protection of calves against both respiratory and enteric pathogens. We can provide equipment and train you to use it to test the quality of cow’s colostrum. We can also blood test calves to then check that they have acceptable levels of antibodies in their blood stream (reflecting the quality and quantity of colostrum consumed).

Farmer Training

We have and will continue to run farmer training courses. Subjects covered include:

DIY AI Training (An APHA-approved, Semex licenced course) – 3½-day course (1 day of theory and 2½ days of practical). At the end of the course you will be trained and officially licensed and registered with APHA to AI cattle.

DIY AI Refresher Training – ½-day, practical course on farm for farmers already trained who would like a review of their techniques and a refresher on modern fertility treatments to improve conception and pregnancy rates.

Foot Trimming – A 2-day course which covers trimming techniques; identification and understanding of the lesions you are seeing; treatment options; the use of blocks and foot bathing regimes.

Please watch our CVP Farm Facebook page for up and coming training courses and dates or contact Tiffany by email tiff@chapelfieldvets.co.uk or telephone 01508 558228 to express an interest.


Ultrasound Scanning - Reproduction scanning of dairy and beef cows and heifers. Using BCF Easi-scanners which are mobile and do not require mains power, we can scan your cattle at marsh, in compounds, etc. Reproductive scanning covers pregnancy diagnosis from 30 days of pregnancy; investigation of reproductive problems (“not seen bulling”); identification of twin pregnancies for care during the latter stages of the pregnancy; etc.

Software programmes – Interherd, Herd Companion and CIS allow us, with your permission, to help analyse your data and provide advice and written reports.

Bull fertility – Bull Breeding Soundness examination (BBSE). A full examination of your bull including evaluation of semen collected by electro-ejaculation. Written reports provided. No visit charge if three or more bulls are tested at the same time. 

We perform BBSEs on mature breeding bulls prior to mating periods – best performed approximately 2-3 months in advance of when you want to use the bulls to ensure adequate time to replace infertile bulls or to rest them before retesting sub-fertile bulls.

We also perform BBSEs on bulls prior to sale. This is generally incorporated into a pre-sale health testing package which includes blood testing for diseases such as BVD, IBR, Leptospira hardjo and Johnes Disease.

DIY AI training courses – In conjunction with Semex UK we run APHA-approved, 3.5-day DIY AI training courses. This allows you to officially be trained to AI your own cattle with all the advantages - perfect timing, the cows being familiar with you (reducing stress), reduced standing time, reduced handling, herd biosecurity, etc. The courses are open to both dairy and beef farmers – clients and non-clients. Course numbers are kept to 4 trainees minimum and 6 maximum to ensure lowest costs and trainee to trainer ratio. If you are interested in attending one of these courses, please contact or leave a message for Tiff Derham at our Brooke clinic on 01508 558228, or email tiff@chapelfieldvets.co.uk, and we will register your interest and contact you before the next course.

DIY AI refresher courses – We can organise bespoke, on-farm DIY AI refresher courses. These normally last for 2-3 hours and can involve all your staff who carry out AI on your farm. Like driving, we can all develop subtle bad habits and these can reduce individual inseminators’ conception rates!

Herd Plans

We will produce or help you to complete Herd Health Plans. These may be British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), Red Tractor or PCHS Herd Health Plans (HHPs). We have experience with all of them. HHPs provide excellent reference points for disease monitoring, control and eradication and are a mandatory requirement for Red Tractor and many milk contracts. We can help you meet requirements or position yourself ahead of the game, ready for any future opportunities. HHPs will include summaries of any disease investigations on the farm and laboratory testing (milk, blood and tissues) taken on the farm and kept on our practice management computer systems.


Investigations - Mastitis, Somatic Cell Count (SCC) and Bactoscan investigations can be undertaken. Analysis can be on an individual and/or herd basis. Advice can be given on the best sampling and storage techniques to ensure the maximum chance of getting significant results. Bulk milk samples can be taken as a herd screen to see which bacteria are present in the herd and to check parameters which give information on plant cleaning effectiveness.

Software programmes – Interherd, Herd Companion and CIS allow us, with your permission, to help analyse your data and provide advice and written reports.


Treatments – Individual lame cows can be examined and treated by our veterinary surgeons. This will include identification of the problem, specific treatments for sole ulcers, white line disease, etc and if required, herd control and treatment strategies.

Herd Investigations – Using herd lameness records; foot trimmer records and consultancy visits/locomotion scoring, herd advice can be given on causes and control strategies. Advice on foot bath chemicals and frequency of foot-bathing can be given.

Routine Herd Foot Trimming – We do not provide a routine foot trimming service, but can recommend local foot trimmers who we currently work beside on mutual clients’ farms.

On-Farm Surgery

Our vets perform a whole host of surgical procedures on farm and occasionally in our Brooke clinic when we might require a more controlled general anaesthetic.

Caesarians – Performed on cows in cases of foetal oversize, mal-presentations, foetal abnormalities, etc.

Displaced abomasums – Surgical or toggle correction of left-displaced abomasums.

Right Dilations (and torsions) of abomasums – Deflation and surgical correction.

Teat surgery or removal – Surgical repairs of damaged teats.

Eye enucleation – Removal of irreparably damaged eyes, resulting from such things as trauma, tumours or severe infections.

Rumenotomies – To investigate rumen problems or to attempt to remove foreign bodies which have resulted in traumatic reticulitis.

Exploratory laparotomies – To investigate unexplained abdominal problems.

Twisted uterus – If we cannot untwist a uterus at calving without surgical intervention, we will sometimes try untwisting a uterus through a left-sided incision. If successful the cow can be calved without the uterus being incised.

(See also Routine Procedures section)

Post mortems

Post mortems (PMs) are performed to investigate and determine, or to confirm a diagnosis. Sometimes the PM itself will confirm the cause of death, but on many occasions, we need to take samples and submit these to laboratories.

PMs can be carried out in three places – on your farm, at animal collection centres and at specific laboratories (e.g. APHA Bury St Edmunds).

Premium Cattle Health Scheme Checks

We have clients who are members of the Premium Cattle Health Scheme, a CHeCS licensed health scheme run by SAC Consulting in Scotland. Besides sampling the cattle for qualification and monitoring purposes, we enjoy discussing helping your herds meet the various requirements of the schemes, such as the provision of isolation facilities and biosecurity requirements.

Diseases monitored: Johne’s Disease, BVD, IBR, Leptospirosis and Neospora.

TB & Other OV Services

We have several vets who are Official Veterinarians (OVs), with qualifications allowing them to carry out work on behalf of Defra (APHA).

Tuberculin testing – routine whole herd tests, tracing tests, check tests, pre- and post-movement tests. We perform these for our clients and on many occasions for farms whose normal vets do not Tb test.

Other Services:

Anthrax – All sudden deaths should be reported to see if statutory testing is required. This must be done before the animal is moved or collected.

Brucellosis – All abortions (any calving that takes place before 271 days gestation, including live births) should be reported to see if statutory testing is required. This must be done before the calf and afterbirth are disposed. If the cow does need to be tested, she must be isolated until the clear results are received and permission to come out of isolation is given.


We have pharmacies in all our clinics from where drugs can be collected. Our main farm animal pharmacies are in our Long Stratton and Brooke clinics. All the drugs are stored correctly (temperature and in some cases light!). Our dispensaries undergo regular, official inspections by the Veterinary Medicines Inspectorate. As well as checks on how we record in-coming stock; the storage facilities and our records of out-going (sold) stock, we must demonstrate a good level of knowledge of all the regulations. These inspections can be a bit nerve-racking, but thankfully we always pass!

Routine Procedures

  • Disbudding and dehorning
  • Castrations
  • Supernumerary teat removal
Return to Livestock