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Northland veterinarians assist in Northland relief efforts

Northland veterinarians assisting in Northland relief efforts

21 July 2014

Northland veterinarians, along with many others, are on high alert and assisting in relief efforts, working collaboratively with organisations such as Dairy NZ and their farmer clients, following the floods and damage caused by Northland’s severe storms.

Veterinarians are actively monitoring the situation which has impacted about 80% of the primary sector in Northland with many farms under water, and are looking at short, medium and possible long-term health impacts on stock.

Experienced Northland veterinarian Dr Ross Woods of the New Zealand Veterinary Association Northland Branch says that one priority for farmers is sourcing clean water and feed options for livestock to mitigate health issues and likely production losses.

“There is the potential for a range of animal welfare problems following this severe weather, especially with it happening at calving time. Problems to watch for include starvation, weight loss, mastitis, reproduction issues that may last for two to three years, lameness, and highly infectious diseases such as leptospirosis and salmonellosis which could spread as a result of heavy rainfall and surface flooding.

“Theileriosis is also a potential risk as the storms have put extra stress on cattle around calving,” he says.

Dr Woods says that the NZVA is keeping its Northland branch members regularly up-to-date with information to help them support their farmer clients.

He said practices were encouraged to work closely with local organisations such as DairyNZ, the Northland Rural Support Trust and Federated Farmers to ensure messages were coordinated and consistent.

“Veterinarians are well aware of the importance of being proactive in managing animal health and welfare, particularly to provide solutions at an early stage, as well as providing moral support for farmers at this difficult time.”

ENDS

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