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Cattle deaths prompt calls for caution

THE death of 14 pregnant cows at a Kemps Creek property has prompted calls for caution when it comes to mustering or transporting lethargic cattle.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services District Veterinarian Aziz Chowdhury said his investigations had found Theileriosis leading to anaemia and imposed stress by mustering in the late pregnancy of the animals as the likely cause of deaths.

“Theileriosis is caused by a small parasite that destroys the red blood cells in the animal and causes anaemia. It is spread by blood sucking arthropod insects particularly various species of ticks and in many cases, we have found it to be associated with the movement of stock,” he said.

Mr Chowdhury said the pregnant cows had been moved from a property near Goulburn a few months before their deaths.

“On the first visit, about five per cent of the cows had had a very low body score and showed signs of severe anaemia, lethargy and lack of appetite,” he said.

“Theileriosis is highly contagious and if left untreated will cause abortion in pregnant animals and ultimately death. In this instance the land manager acted quickly and sought expert advice which prevented any further risk to the remainder of the herd and surrounding properties.”

Mr Chowdhury urged farmers to seek advice from their local vet if their cattle are suffering from lack of appetite or lethargy and to approach Local Land Services if there is a sudden death in their herd.

“If detected early Theileriosis can be cured with antibiotics along with extra food and multi vitamins but if it progresses too far there is no specific medication to treat it and if it is left undetected it could have serious impacts for farmers and the agricultural industry,” he said.

For further information advice view the NSW DPI fact sheet.

ENDS

Media contact: Nikki McGrath (02) 4724 2138 M: 0448 953 755