For the Love of Bovine – Part 4
Over the last three months we’ve been covering some of the aspects of cattle ownership, from setting up your facilities to breed selection and feeding. This month we’ll look at some of the common toxins that we encounter in this area.
The most common problems we see are ingestion of toxic plants and unsuitable feed supplements, such as bread (or grains in small ruminants).
We have a number of toxic plants in this district and the four most often encountered in our paddocks are lantana, bracken fern, poison peach (native/wild peach) and wild tobacco (or any of the solanum species). The greatest risk is to naïve cattle which have just been moved to new paddocks, and in periods of drought where pastures are poor and food is scarce.
The best prevention is to eliminate these weeds from your property. Treatment is not always successful, not always possible and very often costly.
Lantana: Lantana poisoning in this area is generally associated with ingestion of the orange/red flowering plans rather than the lighter pink flowering variety, however all are toxic. Ingestion of lantana causes liver damage and the success of treatment depends very much on how much has been consumed and over what time frame. Death can occur anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks from ingestion.
Bracken Fern: Bracken fern affects the bone marrow leading to clotting disorders, blood loss and reduced immunity. It can also cause cancer, predominantly in cattle. Animals need to have consumed bracken over a period of 2-4 weeks. The young, tender shoots are the most toxic. There is no effective treatment for bracken fern toxicity!
Poison Peach: This inconspicuous looking plant causes acute liver damage and most animals die within 2-3 days of ingesting it. It is sometimes stocked in nurseries selling native plants.
Wild Tobacco: Wild tobacco belongs to the Solanum family, of which there are a large variety, many poisonous. Devil’s Apple and Box Thorn belong to this family and all are commonly found in this area. These plants cause intense abdominal discomfort and often profuse diarrhoea. It can be fatal.
There are also a number of common plants which we find in household gardens which are toxic to all animals, such as oleander and ‘yesterday, today & tomorrow’ (Brunfelsia) to name just two. Apart from plants and feed, the other toxin you particularly need to be aware of around here is the paralysis tick. At this time of year they are particularly active and whilst fully grown, healthy, large breed cattle tend to cope quite well, for calves and small breeds they can be deadly! There are a number of preventative measures available for all species.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to check your tick prevention for all your pets and livestock.
For more information you can go to our website www.dayborovet.com.au . The NSW & QLD DPI websites also have a lot of useful information www.dpi.nsw.gov.au or www.daf.qld.gov.au. Or give us a call on 34251544. One of our friendly staff would be happy to advise you.
On a different note- the equine breeding season is upon us. If you are thinking of breeding from your mare please contact the clinic for more information. We can help you with a tailor made AI program using fresh, chilled or frozen semen. Currently we are still awaiting the arrival of a number of foals from last year’s AI program.
Brought to you by the team at UQ Vets Dayboro