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Recent case of tick fever highlights the importance of investigating unusual diseases

North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarians are reminding owners of the importance of having unusual disease events investigated following the recent diagnosis of tick fever on two properties in the Kendall area.

In this case, the owner of the first property affected contacted the Emergency Animal Disease hotline following the death of three animals and a property visit was subsequently undertaken by the North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian.

Ian Poe, District Veterinarian said, “This is exactly what we recommend in situations such as this.

“An important role of the District Vet team is disease surveillance – investigating disease events such as this – which helps support our livestock markets.”

Australia is in the enviable position of being free from many of the more devastating animal diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, mad cow disease, rabies, bluetongue and screw worm fly, diseases which would have a devastating effect on the North Coast livestock industry.

Ian continued, “It is vitally important that we work together to keep such diseases out and you can help by being on the lookout for unusual symptoms and contact either your private veterinarian, District  Veterinarian or the emergency animal disease hotline on 1800 675 888 if things don’t seem right.

“Ensuring that these are investigated means that in the unlikely event it is a disease not currently in Australia means it will be detected early.

“There have been many examples that clearly demonstrate that our ability to eradicate a disease quickly is largely dependent on how early it is first diagnosed.

“Ruling out such diseases during an investigation is also important as we use that as evidence to our trading partners that we don’t have these exotic diseases.” Ian said.

Cattle ticks are only rarely identified in the southern parts of the north coast region. Owners should remain aware of the risk of cattle tick, and if they find ticks on their stock and are unsure of whether they are cattle tick or the bush or paralysis ticks that are more commonly seen in the area, they can contact North Coast Local Land Services to assist with identification.

Tick fever is caused by a protozoal parasite that is transmitted by cattle ticks. It causes a fever, depression, and anaemia. Affected animals may also stagger or show nervous signs. Red coloured urine, often referred to as redwater is also frequently noted.

In response to this detection properties with cattle tick will undergo a NSW Department of Primary Industries supervised program to eradicate cattle tick.

Media contact:             Ian Poe, District Veterinarian, Phone 0429 987 255

Image caption:            Owners should regularly monitor their cattle for ticks