Pest Alert: Mosquitoes and other biting insects

Wet weather and flooding in various regions across the country has provided the perfect environment for the proliferation of mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Some of these insects are potentially harbouring and helping spread diseases, namely Mycoplasma Ovis (M. Ovis) in sheep and Bovine Ephemeral Fever (three-day sickness) in cattle.

Both diseases are more common in young stock, although naïve older stock may be affected. There is no treatment nor cure for either disease.

The main concern (deaths notwithstanding) is the effect the disease could have on bulls and rams. The very high fever could render bulls and rams infertile for up to 50 days. The consequent impacts on joining are obvious.

Symptoms

Symptoms are short lived but very severe and include:

  • High fever – shivering
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Recumbency

Suggested Action

Affected animals should be left alone or left in a cool area with adequate water. Further stress will probably prove fatal. There is a risk of secondary infection, namely pneumonia.

Whilst it appears the continued spread of the disease is inevitable, there are some management steps which could reduce the severity of impact. For more information on how to manage these diseases please contact your local Elders Livestock Production advisor.

Article written by Rob Inglis, Elders Livestock Production Manager – contact Rob.

Contact your local Elders branch for more information.

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