Disease can take many forms – dead stock is an obvious sign of a problem but other more subtle clinical signs (such as poor weight gain or scouring) may indicate that there is a problem.
The earlier in the course of disease that we begin our investigation, the better chance we have of getting the right diagnosis and thus the right treatment to prevent the spread of disease.
Disease investigation begins with a complete physical examination of a sick cow or calf, usually on your farm (you can bring calves to the clinic). We may need to take samples (such as blood or faeces) or do post-mortems if stock are dying in order to get a diagnosis.
The samples are then sent to the government laboratory in Sydney for analysis.
Copies of the results are automatically sent to the local Livestock Health & Pest Authority (LHPA) veterinarian so they can get involved in the case if necessary.
Some common disease problems we see with cattle include milk fever (low calcium), grass tetany (low magnesium), grain poisoning, bloat, mastitis, pneumonia and foot abscesses. There are also a number of infectious diseases such as pestivirus that we may need to test for.