WA Livestock Disease Outlook - for producers

Sudden death in two-year-old cows

  • Cases of sudden death were investigated in two-year-old cows in the Great Southern.
  • Five cows died over a two-day period from a herd of 280 animals.
  • The herd was branded, drenched and received micro-mineral supplements one week before the deaths.
  • Seasonal conditions were dry and the cows were moved to a new paddock 4–5 days before the deaths.
  • Post-mortems on two cows did not show any visible disease.
  • Blood tests showed calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels within normal ranges, with no liver or kidney damage. Laboratory testing revealed heart muscle damage, fatty liver and fluid build-up on the lungs, suggestive of cardiac glycoside or 1080 poisoning.
  • No poisonous plants were seen in the current paddock but laneways/transit paddocks are being checked.