Rainfall brings new risks to landholders
WHILE recent rainfall has brought much-needed relief from drought and bushfires across the North Coast, the wet weather can also pose risks for livestock in the form of internal parasites and toxic weeds.
"Now that we've had some rain in most parts of the region, it's a good time to review the vaccination status of livestock and give booster injections where appropriate, particularly for clostridial diseases such as pulpy kidney" North Coast Local Land Services district vet Dr Ian Poe said.
Pulpy kidney most commonly occurs in young, growing stock grazing lush pasture or being fed on grain or pellets. Most cases are found dead, though if seen prior to death, clinical signs can include convulsions, kicking at abdomen and diarrhoea.
"Recent rain may also increase the risk of internal parasites. Owners of sheep, goats and alpaca especially should be mindful of the risk of barbers pole worm which can kill stock quite quickly," Dr Poe said.
Landholders are also advised to check pastures for new weeds and toxic plants that could cause further problems for stock. Floodwaters may also bring with them undesirable weeds, and areas inundated should be monitored for weeds. Pasture toxicities including Kikuyu toxicity and nitrate poisoning are also possible after rain following a dry spell.
While rainfall will hopefully alleviate water supply shortages, when heavy rain occurs after a long dry spell, water can be contaminated by an influx of debris and sediment.
"Water test kits are available from Local Land Services, and we are currently offering free testing services of stock water for drought or fire-affected producers," Dr Poe said.
"We have even seen flash flooding cause some stock losses. It may be wise to move animals to safer paddocks or higher ground where fast-rising floods are more likely while the storm season continues."
For more information about water quality, weeds, diseases and other animal health issues, contact your nearest Local Land Services office.