Bluetongue – monitor your stock carefully

Published 7 June 16

As farmers well understand, Bluetongue Virus Disease (BTV) is a notifiable disease which can affect all ruminant species, including: cattle, sheep, deer, goats and camelids. However, it does not affect people, meat or animal products.

Derek Armstrong, AHDB Dairy Lead Veterinary Science Expert, says: “The latest expert assessment is that the UK is at high risk of a BTV outbreak towards the end of the summer as a result of infected midges being blown across from France to the South East of England.

“Although cattle may show no signs of illness, I strongly encourage people to monitor the stock carefully and report any clinical signs of BTV to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301.”

Signs of bluetongue in cattle can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Crusty erosions around the nostrils and muzzle
  • Redness of the mouth, eyes, nose
  • Redding of the skin above the hoof
  • Nasal discharge
  • Reddening and erosions on the teats

Cattle often do not show clear signs of disease so owners should also look out for signs of fatigue and lower productivity including reduced milk yield.

Download the JAB leaflet to ensure everyone on your farm knows what to look for.

Derek continues: “Vaccination is the only effective tool to protect susceptible animals from bluetongue and it is already allowed in Great Britain as a voluntary protective measure. If you are thinking of vaccinating, it is important to discuss the options with your vet.”

 

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Joint campaign Against Bluetongue – JAB

Industry has joined together to ensure that farmers and vets across Great Britain are informed about the risk of Bluetongue, raise awareness about the disease and what to do when they suspect it.

JAB is organising a series of events around the country to provide farmers with more information about the disease, risk and vaccine availability. For further information on events in your area please contact your local AHDB knowledge exchange officer.