1000+ reasons for WA’s high animal health status

1000+ reasons for WA’s high animal health status

Western Australian producers have again provided evidence of the State’s excellent livestock health status with producers making more than 1000 calls to a vet to investigate and submit laboratory samples when animals showed signs of illness in 2016/17.

WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Animal Health Surveillance manager Marion Seymour said WA producers and vets were the frontline of the State’s animal health surveillance team.

“When a producer calls their vet when animals show signs of disease, the results from the testing are used to support Australia’s proof of freedom from serious diseases that could affect livestock production or trade or human health,” Dr Seymour said.

“The producer also benefits directly from a diagnosis of the cause of disease, which allows them to adjust their management so that they can prevent the disease in future.

“In the 2016/17 financial year, the Department’s veterinary pathologists carried out more than 1000 investigations into animal health, with more than 900 of these on the main commercial livestock species – cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.

“The investigations occurred across Western Australia, demonstrating that our surveillance systems are widespread across livestock production areas and that we are likely to recognise any serious diseases that may occur at an early stage.

“WA exports about 80 per cent of our livestock and livestock products every year, valued at about $2 billion annually, and it is vital that everyone involved in the industry reports unusual signs to their private vet, a Department vet or the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888.

“This includes producers, vets, stock agents, transporters and processors.”

Dr Seymour said sudden death, weakness and lameness, neurological disease signs and abortion and infertility topped the list of the most common health issues investigated.

“It is vital to investigate disease signs like these because, while they are most likely due to an endemic disease or management issue, there is a chance that they could be an exotic disease,” she said.

“The signs of some reportable and exotic diseases can look similar to common diseases. For example, sudden death could be due to anthrax, while lameness occurs in foot-and-mouth disease and mad cow disease would present with neurological signs.

“In 2016/17, more than 400 of the sheep and cattle cases submitted for laboratory investigation were also tested for reportable and exotic diseases, providing evidence to our domestic and international markets that we were free of these exotic diseases.”

Dr Seymour said the WA Department continued to subsidise disease investigations to support WA’s ongoing access to premium markets for livestock.

Image: Animal Health Surveillance manager Marion Seymour on farm with Denmark producer Pete Dufall. Western Australian producers have again provided evidence of the State’s excellent livestock health status. Image supplied by WA DPIRD.

Source: WA DPIRD