Rural

Three-day sickness can cost farmers calves

ALTHOUGH only rated as little more than a nuisance disease, livestock owners need to take precautions against an outbreak of three day sickness in the region's cattle.

District veterinarian Ainslie Lund said a combination of a mild summer last year and the traditional late summer to autumn prevalence of the disease had increased the severity of the disease this year.

She said bovine ephemeral fever, as the disease is formally known, is spread by mosquitos and other biting insects, which are more prevalent at this time of year.

"Last year was particularly mild for BEF, so a lot of young animals, which would have picked up immunity, did not get it," she said.

"The result has been a lot more older animals, who do not handle it as well, contracting the illness."

As both names suggest the disease is not a lasting one and most animals, particularly younger ones can handle it with ease.

But Ms Lund said there could be problems with breeding cattle as the fever associated with the disease can cause abortions in cows and infertility in bulls.

"There's a vaccine available for three day sickness," she said. "It's quite expensive and most of the time you wouldn't bother with it.

"But if you have breeding bulls I would definitely be having them vaccinated."

Ms Lund said the symptoms of the disease were lameness, stiff and swollen joints, fever and drooling.

"Some cattle recover without going down, others may go down for some time," she said.

"Treatment options are limited. However, anti inflammatory drugs are useful to reduce the fever and swollen joints. Calcium injections can also help to restore muscle function.

Topics:  cattle



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Green thumbed crime needs to be weeded out: cops

The site of a stolen tree at Casuarina.

Landscaping misdemeanours are flowering in the Casuarina village.

‘I’m not drunk or lazy: I’ve got MS.’

MS Suffer Debbie Monaghan on her mobility scooter at Tweed Heads.

Debbie Monaghan often attracts unwanted attention from strangers whe

Latest deals and offers

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce tour Rockhampton sweet potato farm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit a...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest