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Cattle producers warned of increase in plant poisoning of livestock

Bracken fernThe North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian team has warned North Coast cattle producers about an increase in plant poisonings in livestock. Recent dry conditions encourage cattle to seek what appears to be promising green pick.

Dr Ian Poe, District Veterinarian, said of the issue, “Unfortunately some of the alternatives to pasture are toxic.

“Young stock are particularly prone, as they are learning about what is edible, however sometimes this is learnt the hard way and care should be taken with recent introductions who may be unfamiliar with toxic plants on the property.”

Common plant poisonings on the North Coast include bracken fern, red lantana, mother of millions and green cestrum. Oleander poisoning has also been seen in recently.

Steer showing bracken poisoning signsIan continued, “The signs will depend on the plant eaten but some to watch for Bracken fern include black tarry faeces and pale gums.

“Cattle with Red Lantana poisoning have sunburn, may become aggressive and have yellow gums,  whereas stock with oleander, mother of millions or green cestrum poisoning die suddenly, often without the owner seeing any signs.

“Many producers simply ascribe these deaths to “snakebite”, when in reality it is another problem,” Ian concluded.

For more information contact your veterinarian or the North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian team.

Media contact:

Ian Poe, District Veterinarian, Phone 0429 987 255

Photo captions:

1. Bracken fern is a common cause of poisoning
2. Signs of bracken fern poisoning include black tarry faeces