As we move into the winter months, ill thrift and scouring in herds occurs relatively commonly, and multiple causes should to be considered. One possible cause of these signs is yersiniosis.
Yersiniosis is a bacterial infection that can infect both cattle and sheep. This infection does not usually cause ill health in livestock and may go unrecognised.
However, Yersinia bacteria can cause clinical problems if livestock are under stress or if there's damage to the gut wall due to other factors, such as a large worm burden.
In these situations, signs of ill health are most commonly seen in younger livestock. Typically, there may be 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. Death can occur, but treatment with antibiotics is often successful. Steps can be taken to prevent losses from yersiniosis and similar diseases.
Simply optimising pasture utilisation during these colder months, practicing good parasite control, and minimising stress will help protect livestock.
It's important to remember other causes of ill thrift and scouring can look like yersiniosis, so it is best to contact your veterinarian to investigate these cases.