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New veterinary resource to manage disease in cattle

New veterinary resource to manage disease in cattle associated with Theileria

A new veterinary handbook on Theileria, developed by the Theileria Working Group and published by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), will help to ensure that veterinarians and their farmer clients are well prepared to manage the expected spring upsurge in infections with this important, new parasite of cattle.

The number of affected farms is expected to exceed those reported in the last two years with nearly 700 beef and dairy herds testing positive so far, with about a third of these occurring in the North Island this year.

The Theileria Veterinary Handbook has been produced for veterinarians advising clients on management of Theileria orientalis Ikeda associated bovine anaemia (TABA) and contains a wealth of information to help mitigate the impact of the disease, says Dr Neil MacPherson, Immediate Past President of the NZVA Society of Dairy Cattle Veterinarians and a member of the Theileria Working Group.

“Veterinarians are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared, with regular updates on Theileria provided by MPI and NZVA. The Veterinary Handbook will complement these updates and is a hugely valuable ‘ready-to-use’ resource which includes a section on farm management strategies to lessen the effects of the disease.”

“It will be of relevance for both newly and previously diagnosed dairy and beef properties.”

Dr MacPherson says that the new resource is particularly timely as increased numbers of Theileria outbreaks are forecast, supported by predictive modelling using data from the epidemic.

“Even though there is no vaccine or treatment that has proven 100 per cent effective there are a number of measures to successfully treat Theileria and which are comprehensively outlined in the Handbook.”

These include good nutrition of cattle, minimising stress, herd screening to detect affected animals and at-risk herds, clinical diagnosis and disease management strategies.

He says that the veterinary profession will continue to have a key role in providing advice, taking a preventative and proactive focus.
“Working collaboratively with farmers to minimise the disease is essential. It will include identifying and managing affected animals, optimising herd health and implementing general biosecurity measures such as strategic tick control.”

Dr MacPherson says impacts of the condition, which only affects cattle and is not a human or food safety issue, will likely reduce over time as cattle across the country build immunity.

The Veterinary Handbook is a collaborative effort involving the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Society of Dairy Cattle Veterinarians of the NZVA, and the Sheep and Beef Cattle Veterinarians Branch of the NZVA.


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