Animal Health Newsletter
Northern Territory. Department of Primary Industry and Resources
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Animal health; Animals; Diseases; Livestock; Periodicals.
Northern Territory Government
Newsletter, November 2016
Livestock Biosecurity news
Animal health news from the Northern Territory
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Northern Territory Government
DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES Page 6 of 12 Animal Health Newsletter metaldehyde and snake venom levels, but levels did not provide a diagnosis. The signs seen in this dog are consistent with exposure to a toxin which could not be confirmed. Nervous signs in a bovine viral diarrhoea virus persistently infected steer A producer called Department of Primary Industry and Resources field veterinary officers to have a look at a three-year-old Brahman cross steer on a property just out of Darwin. The steer was apprehensive of people and extremely sensitive to noise and contact. The steer was in a mob of 100 cattle that were not exhibiting any of the same behaviour. The manager of the property also mentioned that the steer was significantly stunted compared with other steers on the property that were of similar age. The steer was euthanized and submitted as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) exclusion case to Berrimah Veterinary Laboratories. Post-mortem examination found no abnormalities other than the spleen being smaller than expected. Tests proved that the steer was persistently infected with bovine pestivirus. Bovine pestivirus is endemic in the Northern Territory and if a cow is infected while pregnant, the calf will also become infected. If the pregnancy is not aborted and the calf survives, it will shed the pestivirus for life (which is why they are known as persistently infected or PI). PI cattle can grow well, but are generally unthrifty with a rough coat compared to other cattle the same age. They are a source of infection for other cattle which have not been exposed to the virus. PIs usually have a reduced life expectancy. Sudden death in a mixed poultry flock A hobby farm reported the sudden death of 11 birds from a free range mixed poultry flock of 15 birds outside Darwin. There had been no recent management changes or introduction of new birds. Eight chicken, duck and guinea fowl carcasses of mixed ages and sexes were found in varying degrees of decomposition and covered with maggots. Post-mortem examination showed all birds were in good condition, and four had maggots present in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Internal parasites were found in the faeces and there was no histological evidence of systemic infectious disease. Newcastle disease and avian influenza was excluded in all of the birds and the maggots were not those of the screw worm fly. Warm, humid weather and rotting vegetable matter favour the grown of the Clostridium botulinum toxin in maggots. The presence of ingested maggots in the birds in this case is highly suggestive of botulism as the cause of disease. Cases of botulism in poultry occur annually during the wet season in the northern part of the Northern Territory. Poultry owners should prevent birds from having access to possible sources of the toxin by removing decaying food scraps, animal carcasses and rotting vegetation. Toxic algal blooms When a body of water becomes discoloured with a super abundance of free-floating, microscopic plant or, in rare cases, animal life, it is said to develop a water bloom or algal bloom. Algae are primitive plants and include seaweeds, fine hair-like green forms and microscopic single cells or colonies. Some of the microscopic species are the most dangerous and can multiply rapidly to produce prominent green, red, yellow and other discolouration of water. A group of algae known as blue-green algae produces the most
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