The fatal bacterial cattle disease Yersiniosi, also known as mud scour, have been seen in cattle the Lismore area in recent weeks and North Coast Veterinarians are encouraging cattle producers to be on the lookout for the disease.
Phil Kemsley, North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian said the bacteria Yersinia multiplies in decaying plant material in cool, wet soil. This can occur in swampy area, dam edges and in depressions in pasture; often known as melon holes. It can occur seen when hay is fed out and becomes contaminated by mud. Outbreaks can also happen after floods in winter when flood mud sticks to pasture.
‘The bacteria Yersinia likes low temperatures and low oxygen levels typical in poorly drained paddocks and grows in dry grass material contaminated with mud,’ he said.
Dr Kemsley explained that Yersiniosis often presents as an outbreak with several cattle in the herd affected, making it critical to identify the disease early.
Adults are usually affected, and the disease can be seen in any breed, with Brahmans and Brahman crosses being more susceptible.
‘Signs of Yersinia can vary from fever to severe diarrhoea resulting in dramatic weight loss,’ Dr Kemsley said.
‘In some cases, affected cattle can be found dead despite having good body condition. Others have diarrhoea for several days, which results in dramatic weight loss,’ Dr Kemsley added.
Quick action needed
It is crucial to have suspicious cases investigated by a veterinarian as the infection responds well to treatment with an antibiotic. If cattle loose body condition from the disease, the period of convalescence can be long, with animals needing supplementary feed to regain the weight.
To help prevent further Yersiniosis cases, cattle should be moved to another paddock, preferably one that is better drained. Yersiniosis usually stops once spring and warmer conditions arrive.
’Human Yersinia infection from cattle is rare. As long as people wash their hands after handling cattle affected by the disease, it is not a threat to human health.’ Dr Kemsley said
For further information contact North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian Phillip Kemsley