Bloat deaths in cattle – warning to graziers

Beef Central, 24/06/2016

Bloat in cattleRecent rains have seen an abundance of clovers and medics grow which can cause the deadly condition bloat.

While this growth is a great source of nutrition for livestock, cattle and sheep deaths can result.

Death is caused by the combination of little dry feed in the paddocks, followed by recent rain and a massive flush of clover growth.

Landholders with these conditions should take steps to prevent livestock deaths due to bloat, according to Central West Local Land Services district vet Dr Evelyn Walker.

“These types of pastures cause a gassy froth to form in the rumen (the first stomach) which cannot be burped up,” said Dr Walker.

“The distended rumen puts pressure on the lungs, heart and blood vessels – death is rapid and treatment is usually impossible.

“Hence, prevention is the key. There are a number of bloat prevention options, such as bloat oils, liquids, pellets, blocks and dry licks. Feeding hay can also help.”

Some cases of bloat may be pulpy kidney in disguise, so producers should also give a pulpy kidney vaccination booster now.

Pasture could be high risk for bloat for weeks, if not months, depending on seasonal conditions.

“Once the plant gets taller, older, starts to flower or experiences a few frosts it will harden up,” Dr Walker said.

“Once the pasture has hardened up it takes longer to digest and creates more cud chewing and saliva production – returning normal function to the rumen.

“Graziers should be mindful that sheep can get bloat as well. I sometimes see bloated sheep on lush pasture conditions and inadequate pulpy kidney protection.”

Local Land Services recommends that producers consult their district veterinarian or private veterinarian to discuss bloat prevention options for their individual situation.

Source Local Land Services NSW


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  1. John Gordon, 24/06/2016

    Rumensin capsules are ,apparently no longer available. Why not? Especially considering the financial risk to affected producers,now?

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