Southern producers reminded to be alert for signs of bovine anaemia – DAFWA

Cattle producers in the Great Southern should be alert for signs of a disease causing anaemia in cattle.

Bovine anaemia due to the Theileria orientalis group (BATOG) is transmitted to cattle by bush ticks infected with a blood-borne parasite.

Department of Agriculture and Food field veterinary officer Jenny Cotter said the bush tick was thought to be the main carrier, but other native ticks might also spread the disease.

“The signs of BATOG vary and relate to the breaking down of red blood cells resulting in anaemia,” Dr Cotter said.

“Young cattle up to three months old, late-pregnant and recently calved cows are most likely to be affected by BATOG.”

Dr Cotter said signs of the disease included late-term abortion, general weakness, pale gums, not eating, loss of body condition, separation from the mob, wobbly gait, laboured breathing, yellowing of skin and, in some cases, death.

“Although there is no specific treatment, providing good feed, shade and water can help”, she said.

“Do not walk affected cattle for long distances or through hilly terrain.

“The majority of affected animals recover and the herd will eventually develop immunity to the disease.” 

Department veterinary pathologist David Forshaw said the disease, which was common in parts of eastern Australia, was first diagnosed in Western Australia in 2013.

“Ticks are often in low numbers on cattle and can be difficult to detect in an infested herd. In rare circumstances they may be prolific and readily seen,” Dr Forshaw said.

“The presence of ticks on cattle does not automatically mean that the herd is infected with BATOG, just that the carrier is present.”

For more information about BATOG, visit the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au and search for BATOG or contact David Forshaw (9892 8471) or Jenny Cotter (9892 8421) at the department’s Albany office.

Media contact:
Jodie Thomson or Katrina Bowers:  (08) 9368 3937
David Forshaw, veterinary pathologist: (08) 9892 8471            

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