Hunter three-day sickness warning as mosquito numbers surge

Hunter Local Land Services is reminding cattle farmers in our region to look out for Three Day Sickness.
Recent rain has led to increasing numbers of mosquitoes and midges which can spread the disease and late autumn is the usual time we see cases in our region.
Hunter Local Land Services District Vet Jane Bennett said livestock display a variety of symptoms, but generally most recover.
“Animals affected by Three Day Sickness experience a sudden onset of fever over 40 degrees, become stiff in their joints, lame and are often reluctant to move,” she said.  
“They may drool, have watery eyes and a nasal discharge and infected animals will often go down.  
“Cattle are typically only unwell for several days, hence the name Three Day Sickness - however, some cattle can take weeks to get up.”
Heavy and high producing animals, such as bulls, pregnant cows and dairy cows appear to be most affected.  
High temperatures can lead to temporary infertility in bulls, and heavy animals suffer secondary issues just from being down for a long time.
“It is important to watch for potential cases and give appropriate nursing care to any down animals such as food, water and shelter from hot sun,” said Jane Bennett.
“Anti-inflammatory medication relieves fever and inflammation and can assist their recovery.”
Three Day Sickness can be diagnosed with a blood test in the early fever stage of the disease and on clinical signs.    
Most cattle which have been infected through previous exposure to the virus develop long term immunity.  
Vaccination is a wise precaution to take for valuable and heavy cattle, particularly bulls and dairy cows.  Vaccination is usually given in November - December so that the cattle are protected during the high risk period in late summer and autumn.  
Producers with questions regarding Three Day Sickness can contact a Hunter Local Land Services District Veterinarian on 1300 795 299 or their local vet.  
Further information is available on the Hunter Local Land Services website at

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