WA Livestock Disease Outlook - for producers

In summer, watch out for these livestock diseases:

Disease Typical history and signs

Bovine anaemia due to Theileria orientalis group (BATOG)

  • BATOG occurs in cattle in the southern areas of WA where the bush tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, is found. Infected ticks will spread the blood parasite Theileria orientalis.
  • Signs of BATOG include anaemia, abortion, yellow mucous membranes, laboured breathing, weakness, collapse. Signs are more severe when animals are infected during stressful periods.
  • The disease may cause deaths in young stock. However, healthy young stock that become infected may develop immunity but continue to carry the parasite. Disease signs may never develop in these animals.
  • There is no specific treatment for BATOG, but your vet can assist with supportive care. It is recommended that animals suspected of having BATOG be tested as it may not be BATOG that is causing the illness.
  • Some disease investigations can be subsidised by the SDI program – contact your private vet or DPIRD field vet for information.

Kikuyu poisoning

  • Kikuyu normally grows spring-autumn and can provide valuable summer feed, however poisoning can occur under certain conditions.
  • A long dry spell followed by heavy summer rain can cause rapid grass growth and lush paddocks ungrazed prior to rain may pose the biggest risk.
  • Signs may include unusual vocalisation, bloating, drooling, lack of coordination, lying down, reluctance to move and sham drinking.
  • Moving animals immediately off the affected paddock and providing access to good quality feed and water may alleviate signs.
  • A confirmed case of poisoning in cattle in the Great Southern occurred in January with several reports of cattle losses with similar signs.
  • Always report animals with drooling or mouth ulcers to your private vet or a DPIRD vet as some exotic diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease can cause similar signs.
  • Sudden death cases may also be eligible for subsidised investigations. Ask your vet for details.
  • Read more on the kikuyu webpage.

Water quality issues

  • Water quality can be reduced where the salinity is excessive due to evaporation over summer.
  • When the water temperature increases in summer, water points can become toxic from blue-green algae.
  • Water heavily contaminated with organic matter can result in botulism in cattle or salmonellosis in sheep.
  • Stock may refuse to drink poor-quality water or drink a reduced amount, which reduces feed intake and growth rate.
  • Regularly check water points to ensure pipes and nozzles have not become blocked and that water quality has not deteriorated. Read more about water quality for livestock including guidelines for water salinity by species and water testing.