Flooding can bring on animal health issues

PLAN AHEAD: If your pasture or crop has been damaged by flooding you will need to plan how to feed your stock over the coming months. Photo: MARK JESSER

The recent rains may be a mixed blessing, with short and long-term animal health problems that could follow.

If your pasture or crop has been damaged by flooding you will need to plan how to feed your stock over the coming months.

Moulds grow easily on feed that has been damaged by water and can decrease the nutritive value and palatability of both standing and stored feed.

Some moulds are toxic and may cause stock to die suddenly or longer-term health problems such as liver damage.

While it is a relief to see dams full, floods can dump large quantities of silt and organic material, therefore farmers should be on the lookout for algal blooms and signs of polluted dam water.

Farmers should also keep an eye on their stock to ensure that they are drinking as stock may refuse to drink flood water if it is polluted or tastes different from their normal supply.

All stock are susceptible to foot problems after long periods of being in water or standing on wet, muddy ground. Foot abscesses and other foot problems will be common where animal’s feet are constantly wet.

A very wet season is also likely to result in larger than usual insect populations, consequently increasing the risk of flystrikein sheep after wetting, especially if they have a thick wool cover.

Even when the fleece dries out, problems such as fleece rot and lumpy wool will continue to attract flies.

Diseases that can be spread mechanically by flies, such as pinkeye, may also become more widespread.

Most bacteria thrive and multiply in a moist environment, so bacterial diseases can become a real problem after heavy rain.

Pneumonia and diarrhoea is likely to occur in flood-affected stock due to stress and exposure to prolonged cold.

In cross-bred ewes grazing tall grass, mastitis can become a problem from the combined effects of udder engorgement due to lush feed, udder abrasions and flies.

The sudden flush of feed will make stock susceptible to pulpy kidney, so vaccinating with 5-in-1 is important after floods.

Similarly, leptospirosis vaccination is recommended, as leptospirosis is more likely to be a problem in wet seasons.

A sudden flush of pasture, especially clover or lucerne, can cause bloat in cattle or red-gut in sheep.

Worm larvae survive much longer on pasture in moist conditions, and parasite burdens may increase rapidly.

Protozoan parasites such as cryptosporidium and coccidian also emerge in wet seasons, causing scouring in calves.

Hopefully you will benefit from the current wet conditions without the problems that they may bring.

For further advice please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services.

Dr Jeff Cave is a district veterinary officer with Agriculture Victoria.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

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