Now Proudly Part of Herdwatch
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It all started back in February 1999 when one of the then directors, Andrew Cobner (a Partner at Penbode Veterinary Group), said to the other director, Iain Lorraine (The Practice Manager at Penbode Veterinary Group):

"There must be a better way to do this Iain. We seemed to be wading through a sea of paperwork that is threatening to swamp us at every turn."

Over the next two years TBMaster was born; it started with an excel spread sheet that the practice used to speed up their TB recording, with macros to check interpretations and pre-empt text input etc.

At the BCVA congress in 2000 we showed off the spread sheet to see if other vets might think it useful. The response was overwhelming and so the idea for Lilac Technology and TBMaster was born. Over the next year we had a professional programmer create the first version of TBMaster. It was designed from the outset with the end user in mind.

The launch date was set for February 2001 at BCVA congress and all was prepared; however as we will all remember events overtook us and we spent the next year working our way through one of the worst foot and mouth outbreaks the country had seen.

So in February 2002 we tried again and within weeks we had our first twenty clients!

Life moved on apace and TBMaster went from being a dream to an integral part of many peoples' lives.

By 2006 gone was the need to input every animal individually and every reading one by one. With the new version of TBMaster the whole herd could be downloaded from CTS or VeBus and input into TBMaster in a handful of keystrokes. Worksheets could be created, for the vet to use on farm, with either 40 or 150 animals to a sheet. Results that were all the same could be entered in two keystokes.

cattle health devon

During that first five years we lent our expertise and services to DEFRA and helped them to develop their online service 'Vebus'. Why help the competition you may ask - we did not see it as competition but another way of improving the lives of vets and their staff. The Vebus system was a live online system and was not to everyone's taste as it was slower and carried the risks that we all associate with working online! It did have the advantage that it did not cost. We still believed that our system was better and obviously well liked, as is attested by the hundred odd veterinary practices that were using our system by that time. The fact that all records are saved instantly and that the operator can work at the pace of the machine (with most modern computers that means as fast as the can work) rather than the pace of the internet; more than makes up for the fact that the herd has to be downloaded from CTS or even downloaded and uploaded from/to Vebus. TBMaster integrated perfectly with Vebus.

At the same time as all this was being put in place we also introduced the extra option of a handheld unit to use in conjunction with TBMaster. These units are very sturdy and can withstand the harsh conditions found on farm; such as being dropped on concrete and immersed in water! Whilst they are expensive to purchase all who have bought one have soon found that the benefits far outweigh the cost and usually come back for more.

The other added benefit that we added to the system around the same time was the ability to record blood tests through both TBMaster and the handhelds.

We also worked very closely with AHVLA to help develop their VeBus replacement SAM. Because of this work we have been able to design a new version of TBMaster that not only works with SAM but actually makes it simpler to use SAM. At the same time we have built in various new features that clients have asked for over the years, and we have also made the program 64bit compliant. We are also looking to add some of the features that are available on the handheld as part of TBMaster itself; this will give clients more options and paves the way for further developments in the future.