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Case notes on veterinary investigations in sheep, cattle and other species

District Veterinarian Conference 2011


Anthrax outbreak at Bourke
Written by: Brian Hodge, District Veterinarian South East Livestock Health and Pest Authority, Cooma
Anthrax occurs in a belt of country which extends from a line between Albury and Tocumwal on the Murray River, northwards through Narrandera, Condobolin, Nyngan and Bourke ... Read more

Arcanobacterium pyogenes pneumonia in lambs
Written by: Mandi Carr, District Veterinarian, Tablelands LHPA
Pneumonia is the single greatest cause of deaths in sheep. Nursing lambs and lambs 5-7 months of age have a higher incidence than animals in other age groups ... Read more

Blowfly strike waves: Biology and control
Written by: Peter James, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI),
University of Queensland

L. cuprina is by far the most important fly strike species, responsible for more than 90% of strikes. Brown blowflies (Calliphora spp.) can cause strikes in cooler weather in some areas and are often the species involved in wound strikes ... Read more

Chlamydial infection in sheep
Written by: Bruce Watt, SDV, Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority
Chlamydia pecorum is a well know cause of polyarthritis in lambs especially rapidly growing weaned prime and British breed lambs. However, C. pecorum is implicated in keratoconjuctivitis ... Read more

Enzootic ataxia
Written by: Judy Ellem, DV Coonabarabran
A staggering syndrome with deaths occurred in a flock of cross-bred ewes and lambs on the western edge of the Warrumbungle Mountains ... Read more

Goitre in lambs
Written by: Ian Masters DV, Gundagai
A Poll Dorset stud reported unusually high lamb mortalities in a mob lambing down in May/June, 2010. About 25% of his lambs had been born dead or died soon after birth ... Read more

Histophilus somni epididymitis in Dorper rams
Written by: Dermot McNerney, VO Dareton
A producer telephoned to advise that some rams had swollen scrotums. It was unclear for how long they had swollen scrotums but the affected rams appeared to have ... Read more

How to host an anthrax incident
Written by: Dan Salmon, Senior District Veterinarian, Deniliquin
Anthrax is not uncommon in parts of the Riverina Livestock Health and Pest District. In an area between Deniliquin and Jerilderie half of the properties have had at least one animal diagnosed with anthrax during the past 40 years ... Read more

Non infectious causes of reproduction wastage in sheep
Written by: Greg McCann - Senior District Veterinarian, Central West LHPA
The ewe is a short day breeder, which is to say that she normally has her strongest reproductive performance when daylight is decreasing. The optimal breeding period for the ewe ... Read more

Pilot survey of the prevalence of serum antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii and risk factors for transmission of T gondii to sheep in the Tumbarumba Shire of NSW
Written by: Rosalie Harvey BSc BVSc Hons and Helen McGregor DV LHPA Hume
Sheep are more commonly infected by T. gondii than other livestock such as cattle or pigs ... Read more

Pneumonic and vertebral abscesses in a Dorper lamb
Written by: Evelyn Walker, District Veterinarian, Central West Livestock Health and Pest Authority, Dubbo
One lamb was found in the paddock and unable to ambulate. The affected lamb was presented with hindlimb paralysis of 72 hour duration. The owner reported similar findings in at least 6 others ... Read more

Salmonella case in lambs
Written by: Nik Cronin, District Veterinarian, Lachlan Livestock Health and Pest Authority, Forbes
This particular morning there were 15 dead animals in the sheep yards. This mob had arrived 1 week ago and were shorn but had not yet been vaccinated or drenched. The dead animals had evidence of a green, mucoid scour ... Read more

Sheep lice: Industry situation and changing control practices
Written by: Peter James, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland
The most recent estimate of the cost of lice (Bovicola ovis) to the Australian sheep industry was $123m p.a. of which $84m was due to control costs ... Read more

Trial of treatment options for feedlot lambs
Written by: Belinda Edmonstone - DV Lachlan LHPA and Greg Curran - Technical Specialist (Western Division), Broken Hill I&I NSW
A lamb feedlot operator was considering how best to prepare and support lambs being feed lotted. It was agreed that the best approach would be run a trial to see how lambs responded to each treatment regimen ... Read more

Vitamin B12 in sheep on the NSW southern tablelands
Written by: Bill Johnson, District Veterinarian, Goulburn
Vitamin B12 is essential for normal growth in sheep, and is produced from cobalt in the rumen. Depending on the severity of the deficiency and age of the animal ... Read more


A case of Lythrum hyssopifolia (lesser loosestrife) poisoning in cattle
Written by: Tony Morton, District Veterinarian, Hume LHPA
Lesser loosestrife is a widely distributed weed being recorded in SA, NSW, Vic and QLD. It prefers wetter areas and is considered to be relatively unpalatable ... Read more

Arsenic and young cattle don't mix
Written by: Eliz Braddon, Senior District Veterinarian, Lachlan LHPA
Sudden death of 16 of 100, 2 year old steers was reported to a local private practitioner on 27 Dec 2009. The cattle had arrived for agistment 10 days ... Read more

Benign theileriosis on the Mid North coast
Written by: Ian Poe, District Veterinarian, Mid Coast LHPA, Kempsey
Common presentations of disease include late term abortions, stillbirths, dystocia, weakness, lethargy and death ... Read more

Benign bovine theileriosis - a questionnaire of 64 affected properties
Written by: Graham Bailey, Industry and Investment NSW, Orange
Benign bovine theileriosis (BBT) caused by Theileria sergenti/T. buffeli/T. orientalis complex is a tick borne disease occurs throughout the world ... Read more

Blackleg in cattle: a retrospective
Written by: Keith Hart, SDV Cumberland
Blackleg is a gangrenous myositis caused by the bacterium Clostridium chauvoei, which is commonly found in the soil and in the gut contents of normal cattle ... Read more

Bovine respiratory disease outbreak in selenium deficient cattle in NSW
Written by: Erin Davis, veterinary undergraduate CSU, & Dave Gardiner, District Veterinarian, Central North LHPA, Mudgee
At weaning time May 2009, while mustering a mob of 49 cows and 24 calves, the owner discovered one dead cow and calf with advanced decomposition. Many cattle in the mob were coughing ... Read more

Clinical observations on teat and udder damage to beef cattle after the Ournie-Tooma fire of 17th December 2009
Written by: Brigit Pitman, District Veterinarian Hume LHPA, David Hall BVSc,
Walwa Veterinary Clinic and Chris Miller BVSc Corryong Veterinary Services

On December 17th 2009 two grass fires caused extensive damage to property and livestock in the Hume LHPA. A Section 44 was declared for both fires and Emergency Operation Centres were opened ... Read more

Distal limb necrosis in a hereford calf
Written by: Bruce Watt, Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority and Patrick Staples, State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, EMAI, Menangle
Distal limb necrosis is occasionally encountered secondary to septicaemia, most notably from Salmonella, and from the ingestion of fungal toxins ... Read More

Histophilosis cases in the North West LHPA
Written by: Libby Read, DV Narrabri-Walgett and Shaun Slattery, SDV North West LHPA, Narrabri
Histophilosis is a bacterial disease of cattle found worldwide. It presents with clinical syndromes that include pneumonia, meningoencephalitis, myocarditis and arthritis ... Read more

Oleander toxicity - What is your evidence?
Written by: Helen McGregor DV Hume
It is not unusual to find an Oleander shrub in the older farm homesteads throughout Australia. This plant has a reputation as both a possible medical saviour and an efficient killer of many species ... Read more

Phosphorus deficiency in cattle on the southern and central tablelands of NSW
Written by: Bill Johnson, District Veterinarian, Tablelands LHPA, Goulburn and Bruce Watt, Senior District Veterinarian, Tablelands LHPA, Bathurst
Phosphorus deficiency in cattle may cause symptoms related to reduced appetite, including retarded growth rate of young cattle, low milk yield and impaired fertility ... Read more

Rectal prolapse in a young steer
Written by: Bob Templeton, DV Braidwood and Rod Reece, State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Menangle
The steer was in store condition. The rectum, while prolapsed, was otherwise relatively normal. However, the liver was quite spectacular ... Read more

Screwworm – risk and recognition
Written by: Peter James 1 and Peter Green 2
1 Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), Uni of Queensland
2 Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)

The Old World screw-worm, is considered to be the most serious exotic insect pest threatening Australia's livestock industries and is endemic in a number of our closest neighbouring countries ... Read more

Selenium deficiency in weaned Hereford calves
Written by: Bruce Watt, Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority
In April 2010, the owner of a mob of 120 calves called because he noticed that a marked ?tail? had developed in both the weaned heifer and steer mobs ... Read more

Unusual bovine respiratory disease outbreak
Written by: Ian Lugton, SDV, South East LHPA, Bega and Paul Hick
and Peter Kirkland, Virology Lab, I&I NSW, EMAI, Menangle

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the most important cause of morbidity and reduced production in intensively managed cattle. This complex is multifactorial in its aetiology ... Read more


Adapting livestock production to the climate in 2030
Written by: Brian Cumming, Livestock Officer (Beef), NSW Industry and Investment, Albury
NSW Industry and Investment has been running the NSW component of a national project to look at how producers might adapt their production systems to the anticipated change in climate from 2016 to 2045 ... Read more

Chlamydial infections of humans and animals - an update
Written by: Adam Polkinghorne
Chlamydia are highly successful pathogens that can infect and cause disease in animals at nearly every level of taxonomy. In humans, chlamydial infections are the leading cause of preventable blindness ... Read more

Devil facial tumour disease
Written by: Benn Bryant, Senior Veterinarian, Taronga Western Plains
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) was first recognised in free ranging Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) in the north-east of Tasmania in 1997. The disease subsequently spread and now ... Read more

Field investigation of kangaroo deaths in Sturt National Park and areas near
Tibooburra in early 2010

Written by: Greg Curran, Technical Specialist, Western Division, NSW Wildlife Health
Coordinator, Industry and Investment NSW, Broken Hill

Kangaroo deaths were reported within about 100km of Tibooburra NSW, including within Sturt National Park. On investigation, the animals affected were red kangaroos ... Read more

Flavivirus neurological disease in horses - information for vets
Written by: Belinda Walker, Technical Specialist Animal Biosecurity, NSW DPI
Since late February there has been an increase in reports of horses displaying unusual neurological signs across NSW, Victoria and South Australia. One or more arboviruses were immediately suspected ... Read more

Interesting Hendra virus exclusion
Written by: Ian Poe BVSc. District Veterinarian, Mid Coast LHPA (Kempsey)
Over the last few years Hendra virus exclusions have become a regular occurrence for local private veterinarians and District Veterinarians working in the Mid Coast Livestock Health and Pest Authority ... Read more

Q Fever: A notifiable disease in humans
Written by: Ian Lugton, SDV, SELHPA, Bega and Anthony Brown, A/Prof, Sydney University Medical School, Dubbo
E. H. Derrick first reported in 1937 on ‘Query Fever’. The disease first identified in Brisbane abattoir workers is now known as Q fever. Derrick sent the organisms isolated to McFarlane Burnet ... Read more

Rabies and Lyme Disease - challanges in disease control
Written by: Matthew Ball, Senior District Veterinarian, Lismore
The control and eradication of animal diseases should be based on an understanding of their epidemiology and the methods available for their diagnosis, prevention and treatment ... Read more

Review of a regional disease investigation surveillance system
Written by: Matt Ball - Senior District Veterinarian, NC LHPA, Lismore
Kate Finlayson, Veterinary Intern, Sydney University
Paul Freeman - Regional Veterinary Officer, NSW I&I, Wollongbar

Animal health policy makers need to be given adequate information about the nature of the animal disease monitoring and surveillance system of their regions.  Such information can be used to make decisions ... Read more

Review of the records of chlamydia and SBE diagnoses in the Wagga Wagga RLPB
Written by: Tony Morton, District Veterinarian Hume LHPA, Megan McGrice CSU 6th year vet student, Joss Hoogstraten CSU 6th year vet student
There were 27 sheep investigations recorded with 11,505 sheep at risk, 516 sheep affected (includes deaths) and 44 deaths ... Read more

Selenium nutrition of sheep and cattle
Written by: Bruce Watt and Jeff Eppleston, Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority, Bathurst, NSW
Selenium deficiency is characterised by myopathy and ill thrift in lambs and calves and infertility in ewes and cows. Selenium intoxication is a risk when livestock are overdosed ... Read more

Sporadic bovine encephalitis and ovine chlamydiosis in the Narrabri district
Written by: Shaun Slattery, SDV North West LHPA
These records contain sixteen reports of ovine chlamydiosis and thirty of sporadic bovine encephalomyelitis (SBE). On endemic properties ... Read more

Tips and tools for decision making and clinical / field trial planning - sample size
Written by: Helen McGregor, DV Hume LHPA
One of the main aims in planning a clinical trial is to provide 'conclusive evidence of efficacy'. However, as field vets and scientists we should also recognise ... Read more

Water, water everywhere and not a spot to stand
Written by: Libby Read, DV Narrabri-Walgett
Since the beginning of December 2010, five river systems within the NWLHPA have flooded requiring significant responses. Flooding in these river systems is generally widespread and slow moving ... Read more



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