Diagnosing livestock diseases

Good animal health and livestock welfare is fundamental to farm productivity. Improved husbandry practices and the capacity to prevent, diagnose, and treat livestock disease contributes to an increase in individual animal and whole-herd performance as well as a reduction in livestock mortality.

Our district veterinarians and Local Land Services officers are on the ground to support livestock managers across NSW to assist with diagnosing animal diseases to maintain livestock health.

Find information about significant livestock diseases in NSW:

Arthritis in sheep can be caused by a variety of bacteria entering the bloodstream via cuts and/or wounds in the skin.

Barber's pole worm infestation in sheep and goats causes anaemia and results in death if left untreated.

Bloat in cattle and sheep is the accumulation of gas in the rumen and is a risk when animals are grazing young pasture with high legume content.

Bovine Ephemeral Fever, or Three Day Sickness, is a viral disease of cattle that is spread by mosquitoes and biting midges.

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is more accurately a ‘disease complex’ rather than one bug that causes disease. For BRD to occur there generally needs to be three things: stress + virus + bacteria.

Bovine Vibriosis (or BVC) is a sexually transmitted disease caused by infection and is a major cause of herd infertility and reproductive losses in breeding cattle.

Fleece rot is the result of bacterial infection on the skin and in the fleece of sheep that results in dermatitis and wool damage.

Flood Mud Scours or Yersiniosis is commonly seen after flooding and can cause a severe diarrhoea and death in cattle.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious animal disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, camelids (eg alpacas, llamas and camels), deer and pigs.

Flystrike is a painful and potentially fatal condition caused by blowfly larvae feeding on skin tissue of sheep and other livestock.

Liver fluke parasite infects a range of mammal hosts and causes liver damage and blood loss.

Lumpy skin disease is a highly infectious viral disease that affects all breeds of cattle and water buffalo.

Lumpy wool disease in sheep can occur after prolonged rainfall, and results in loss of condition, reduced skin/wool value, and possible death in affected mobs.

Phalaris Staggers may affect sheep and cattle, although cattle are less susceptible than sheep. In cattle the nerves that control the tongue and swallowing are affected, so they are unable to eat normally and can suffer severe loss of condition.

Pinkeye is a highly contagious bacterial infection causing inflammation and ulceration of the cornea that affects cattle, sheep, and goats.

Red Gut or intestinal torsion is a severe intestinal accident seen in sheep grazing lush green pasture.

Strawberry Footrot is caused by a combination of bacterial and viral infection which produces lesions around the feet and mouth, and is a common cause of lameness in sheep.

Ticks and livestock infestation can lead to loss of condition and sometimes death.

Theileria can cause infections and potentially severe clinical disease in cattle with range of symptoms.

Notifiable animal diseases in NSW

A number of pests and diseases in livestock animals are notifiable under NSW legislation.

These include:

Visit DPI for a full list of notifiable pests and diseases, and online reporting form.

Exotic animal disease update

For Australian farmers, emergency animal diseases may have severe consequences for livestock productivity, trade and human health.

This is why it’s important to act quickly if you suspect an emergency animal disease.

All landholders need to play an active role in monitoring and reporting any suspect cases of foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease.

Find out more about these diseases and what you should be doing now, view our up to date biosecurity information on:

What should I do?

As a responsible Australian farm and landowner, you have a legal obligation to report any suspicion or outbreak of a notifiable animal disease.

To report a disease outbreak, call the National Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

How Local Land Services can help

You can also contact your Local Land Services District Veterinarian, Department of Primary Industries Veterinarian or private vet for help diagnosing livestock diseases.

If you want more information on livestock health and notifiable animal diseases read the NSW DPI Notifiable Animal Diseases Primefact.

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