Steph Cooke

Cowra Local Livestock Health Update

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix


With the warmer weather over the last couple of months it is not surprising that we’ve seen a few common summer animal health issues arise.

Pneumonia is commonly seen in weaned lambs in the summer and early autumn months – hence the condition is often referred to as summer pneumonia. The severity of illness can vary. In some cases, the only signs may be occasional coughing or “ill-thrifty” lambs. However more severe disease can result in deaths, often with very few signs noticed beforehand.

Hot weather is commonly associated with outbreaks of pneumonia. Stress due to transport and mixing of mobs from different sources are also contributing factors.

There are many causes of sudden death in weaned lambs, and it is important you get a correct diagnosis to guide treatment and management decisions. Pinkeye has been causing significant issues in cattle herds across the region. Flies play a key role in spreading pinkeye. They are attracted to the watery eyes, feeding on infected secretions and then move from animal to animal, spreading the disease.

Early treatment and isolation of affected animals can help minimise the impact and prevent spread of disease to other animals.

Contact your private veterinarian to discuss best practice treatment of pinkeye – antibiotic ointments, injectable antibiotics, eye patches and pain relief are all possible options. The use of pour-on fly repellants, such as Coopers Easy-Dose, should be considered during an outbreak.

Any unnecessary yarding should be avoided as this can exacerbate and spread disease.

Three day sickness in cattle, also known as bovine ephemeral fever (BEF) has recently been diagnosed in the Lithgow and Forbes areas. BEF is a viral disease of cattle and buffalo transmitted by mosquitoes.

Typically, affected animals are only sick for a few days, hence the name, three day sickness. Signs can include: drooling, nasal discharge, watery eyes, lameness and down animals that are reluctant to move.

Outbreaks often follow periods of heavy rainfall providing favourable conditions for the insect population to increase. If the current warm, wet conditions continue, it’s expected that we will see more cases throughout the Central Tablelands.

Looking ahead – for autumn lambing flocks remember to keep an eye out for any evidence of abortions. Abortion investigations have the highest chance of getting a diagnosis if aborted fetuses’ and placenta are collected for testing. Trying to work back from a poor marking or weaning rate is often frustrating and unrewarding.

If you would like further information or to chat about any animal health issues, please feel free to contact your local District Veterinarian: Em Johnstone (0419 334 077) Or call 1300 795 299

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Steph Cooke