Northern NSW cattle deaths prompt tick fever warning

Beef Central, 28/05/2018

The deaths of 70 cattle in NSW as a result of tick fever have prompted Local Land Services veterinarians to issue reminders about the need for effective farm biosecurity.

Several properties near Kendal on the NSW Mid North Coast are undergoing a NSW Department of Primary Industries supervised cattle tick eradication program in the wake of the deaths.

This includes tracing of cattle movements and monitoring and treating cattle to eradicate the tick and tick fever.

A number of additional properties also have movement restrictions in place until it can be proven cattle tick has not entered those properties.

Quarantining new or returning stock onto properties and providing suitable livestock health treatments to rid the animal of pests, disease and weeds is an effective method to stop issues crossing the farm gate, said Dr Lyndell Stone, District Veterinarian with Hunter Local Land services.

“Issues like this are a reminder to all producers that we must be vigilant with our biosecurity practices to prevent bringing diseases, pests and weeds onto our farms,” said Dr Stone.

“Holding new cattle in a yard and treating for internal and external parasites as well as vaccinating for key diseases is really a “must do” if you want to protect your stock and your farm.

“There are a range tickicides and anthelmintics that treat for cattle tick as well products for other external parasites that may be a problem in different seasons, a combination drench is also a good choice for internal parasites and liver fluke.”

Dr Stone said regular monitoring and maintaining stock proof fencing is also essential.

“While cattle are in your quarantine yard or small paddock, they should be inspected daily for any signs of disease or pest infestation and only let out with other stock and access to the wider property when you are confident they are healthy and not harbouring diseases, pest or weed seeds,” Dr Stone said.

“Cattle tick is endemic in parts of Queensland, but fortunately is only very rarely identified in the southern parts of the North Coast of NSW, and these cases are then eradicated.”

Cattle tick can carry a protozoal parasite that is injected into cattle when ticks attach and feed. The parasite causes fever, depression and anaemia. Affected animals may stagger, show nervous signs and have red coloured urine (redwater).

Hunter Local Land Services can help with tick identification to distinguish between cattle, paralysis and bush ticks. The key to identifying cattle ticks is its pale coloured legs and leg position.

“Investigating unusual illness in livestock and safeguarding agriculture is a key role of the District Vet team” said Dr Stone.

“But, we rely on producers to work with us and report unusual illness, exactly as the producers have done in this instance.

“Early reporting of an issue gives us the best chance of containing and eradicating a disease threat.”

Source: LLS. For more onfirmation on identifying ticks or biosecurity issues contact 1300 795 299.


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