Summer means disease threat

FOR many of us, summer holidays mean time spent with family at the beach or wetting a line with some mates to catch a feed of fish.

While we're in the great outdoors, insect pests like mosquitoes and sand flies (midges) do their best to spoil our fun and without the use of repellents, they may prevent us from "'avin' a good weekend".

Mosquitoes and midges also transmit a number of diseases to humans and livestock.

One insect-borne disease in cattle is Bovine Ephemeral Fever (three day sickness).

We were fortunate to miss out on clinical cases of three day sickness over the past two summers but with a lack of natural exposure, or an effective vaccination program, herd immunity to three day sickness wanes.

This year, three day sickness in cattle is striking with a vengeance in the North Coast LHPA region. The first case was confirmed near Kyogle in late November 2012 and it has spread south to Grafton, west to Bonalbo and in recent weeks to Mullumbimby.

As the name suggest, three day sickness is normally a short-term disease with low risk of mortality.

But in hot weather some cattle may succumb, particularly if out in the sun. Early detection and provision of good nursing care by cattle producers is critical for three day affected cattle, particularly if they go down. This is even more important with the recent very hot and humid conditions we have been experiencing across the state that can increase stock losses.

Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to lessen the effect of the disease (check withholding periods).

Effective shade, provision of water and good quality hay and supplement are needed to boost the animal's energy.

A down animal must be rolled (preferably lifted) to change the side that is supporting its weight. This will allow bloodflow to be maintained to legs and help prevent muscle damage and possible paralysis.

Vaccination should be considered to protect more valuable animals, such as bulls, stud cows and dairy cows. More information is at:

More information on three day sickness and other insect-borne arboviruses is available at:

Topics:  animal health lhpa livestock

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