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Be on the Look out for Theileria and 3 day fever

Theileriosis (aka Bovine Anaemia) is a blood parasite spread by bush ticks. It causes production loss, abortion, immune compromise and sometimes death in newly infected cattle. Theileria has sporadically affected our district historically, but we certainly rarely saw it clinically, however seasonal conditions and increased tick activity have seen a massive increase in the disease across the state (and we may be seeing a local strain change to more virulence).

We are interested to understand the true local prevalence of Theileria, so please reach out. It is a differential for any anaemic (pale) or jaundice (yellow) sick cattle, of otherwise unknown cause.

Good supportive care is essential. Affected animals will die of hypoxia if physically stressed. A single dose of short acting oxytetracycline (Tetra 100) at the high doses has been useful in many cases to prevent secondary infections but there is no antidote to clear the parasite available in Australia, stock have to be nursed enough that they overcome it themselves - incredibly frustrating.

Anaemic (pale white) muscles membranes of the conjunctiva typical of theileriosis.

Cases of “3 day” (aka Bovine Ephemeral Fever) have also been cropping up. This is a transient virus (hence the name) spread by particular northern mosquitoes that enter our area in some summer/autumns. Acutely sick cattle with a high temp and sore joints (sometime severe lameness, or heavy stock go down) are classic presentations. These stock need early anti-inflammatory treatment (meloxicam injectable) and good supportive care.


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