WA Livestock Disease Outlook - for producers

Suspected oesophageal weakness or possible plant toxicity in mixed age Merinos

  • Similar clinical signs and deaths have been occurring in sheep on a South West Coast farm annually.
  • Cases begin with swelling of the abdomen and a hunched appearance which progress over 2–3 weeks to staining around the mouth, animals lying down and dying.
  • The sheep all graze arum lily, which appears to precede the swelling of the abdomen.
  • Previous cases have led to the suspicion of muscular weakness of the oesophagus with subsequent reflux and inhalation into the lungs, leading to severe pneumonia.
  • Producers who see similar signs should contact their local veterinarian or DAFWA field veterinarian.