WA Livestock Disease Outlook - for producers

In summer, watch out for these livestock diseases:

Disease Typical history and signs

Kikuyu poisoning

  • Kikuyu normally grows spring-autumn and can provide valuable summer feed, but poisoning can occur under certain conditions.
  • A long dry spell followed by heavy summer rain can cause rapid growth. Lush paddocks not grazed before rain may pose the biggest risk.
  • Cattle are most affected by kikuyu poisoning, but sheep and goats are also susceptible. Animals of any age and condition can be affected.
  • 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.
  • 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. Early reporting = better chance of eradication.
  • Sudden death cases may also be eligible for subsidised investigations. Ask your vet for details.

Water quality issues



  • Water quality can be reduced where the salinity becomes excessive due to evaporation over summer.
  • When the water temperature increases in summer, water points can also 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.

WA Livestock Disease Outlook highlights benefits of surveillance

Australia’s ability to sell livestock and livestock products depends on evidence from our surveillance systems that we are free of livestock diseases that are reportable or affect trade. The WA livestock disease outlook – for producers summarises recent significant disease investigations by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development vets and private vets. Data from these investigations provide evidence that WA is free from these diseases and supports our continuing access to markets.

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