NEW ZEALAND – Farms looking to move stock as the weather gets colder are advised to take note of their herd and three disease risk zones for tick-borne illness Theileria.
Moving animals between Theileria zones can help stem the spread of the disease, experts say. There are stable, unstable and free zones, equating to high, moderate and low risk.
This is according to levy board Dairy New Zealand which has outlined pregnant cattle as particularly high risk and care should be taken when relocating high performers moving into unstable zones.
“We’re strongly recommending that farmers shouldn’t bring in pregnant heifers and cows from tick free areas into stable areas without seeking veterinary advice,” said Nita Harding, vet and technical policy advisor.
“Sharemilkers who are forming their herds or farmers undertaking conversions and forming new herds need to take particular care.”
Farmers are warned to take blood tests and assess risk, especially complicated if buying in cows from a range of locations across different zones.
Mark Hosking, Franklin Vets, managing director, said: “Farmers should avoid exposing naïve animals to infected ticks six to eight weeks prior to calving/peak milk production.
“Most naïve dairy animals arrive into infected areas in May/June, two months prior to the major stress of calving and milk production.”
Franklin vets say they have dealt with a lot of cases in their area and understand the disease.
“For people who are moving stock into areas with ticks, we would strongly advise that they carry out blood tests to determine if the animals being moved have been exposed to the parasite,” added Mr Hosking.
“If they have been exposed then there should be relatively little risk of them developing clinical disease. However if they haven’t come across the parasite before then they will be at a high risk of breaking down with clinical theileriosis.”
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TheCattleSite News Desk
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