Vet Talk | Bacteria can be the cause of scouring

As we move into the winter months, ill-thrift and scouring in our herds can be a common occurrence, with multiple causes to be considered.

MUD BATH: Yersiniosis, a bacteria usually found in stock grazing on poorly-drained or muddy pastures, can cause ill-thrift and scouring in younger stock.

MUD BATH: Yersiniosis, a bacteria usually found in stock grazing on poorly-drained or muddy pastures, can cause ill-thrift and scouring in younger stock.

One possible cause of these signs in your herd includes yersiniosis.

Yersiniosis is a bacteria, usually found in cattle and sheep grazing on poorly-drained or muddy pastures.

The condition is commonly seen after flooding, or a wet period, and most cases are seen in winter.

Most of the time yersiniosis does not cause any ill health in your animals and will go unnoticed.

Rarely, yersiniosis can cause problems when the animal is under stress or there is already damage to the gut wall (such as with a large worm burden).

In these situations signs of ill health are most commonly seen in younger stock.

Typically you may notice a history of ill-thrift and ongoing scouring that has not responded to drenching.

The good news is most stock recover from infection and become immune to the disease.

Occasionally, some deaths occur.

Treating your livestock with antibiotics is often successful, but in the meantime there are things you can do on your property to prevent losses from yersiniosis and other similar diseases including:

  • optimising pasture usage during these colder months; 
  • practicing good parasite control; 
  • ensuring good hygiene; and
  • minimising stress in your herds.

These measures will help protect your stock.

It is important to remember that other causes of ill-thrift and scouring can look like yersiniosis, so it is best to contact your veterinarian to investigate these cases.

For further advice on yersiniosis or other livestock health issues 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 in Wodonga

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