Three day sickness confirmed in Central West

Central West Local Land Services have had a confirmed case of Three Day Sickness, also known as Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF) diagnosed in the Coonamble district.  This is a significant disease of cattle that is carried by biting insects which pops up in our district periodically, especially during or following a wet summer.

The symptoms of BEF are a fever, inappetence, depression and reluctance to move. Typically affected animals recover in a few days (hence the name, Three Day Sickness), however some animals (particularly heavy animals such as bulls and cows) can take longer to get up and in some severe cases can die.

Reports from areas further to the north and east who have already experienced the BEF wave is that the symptoms are more severe than in previous outbreaks and that cattle are showing more pronounced neurological signs.

With the high price of stock, and the focus on herd rebuilding, producers will be looking for ways to prevent this disease, ease symptoms and minimise losses.  While there is a vaccine on the market, it is too late now to offer immunity to cattle in our area.  Insect prevention using a combination of backline products, insecticidal ear tags and providing slashed areas where cattle can escape the long grass can be helpful.

Once animals are affected by BEF, anti-inflammatory medications (available via your private vet) and 4 in 1 flowpacks are useful in treating the symptoms and can help them recover quicker. Nursing care such as provision of feed and water while down is essential. Daily monitoring of stock is advised to spot symptoms and start treatment early.

Generally, BEF sweeps down in an insect wave from south east Queensland, so areas to the south and west of Coonamble should also be on the lookout for BEF in coming weeks.  It is highly unlikely to spring up from local insect populations.

To discuss any aspect of health and disease management in your livestock get in touch with your local private vet practice or speak to one of our district vets on 1300 795 299.

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