Three Day Sickness in cattle

May 2, 2018

Over the past few weeks, cattle producers across the Darling Downs have been experiencing high numbers of cases of Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF) or 'Three Day Sickness' in their herds. Whilst the virus is reported to be spread by biting insects like mosquitoes and midges, it sees outbreaks always coincide with the arrival of buffalo flies as well.

Many producers were reporting cattle down and unable to get up for a few days while some even reported stock losses. Signs associated with Three Day Sickness include fever, dullness and depression, lameness and muscle stiffness often progressing to an inability to stand.

Though, as the name suggests, signs will often be short lived lasting 24 - 72 hours, well-conditioned animals as well as bulls and heavily pregnant cows will often experience more severe signs and can remain down for an extended period. In some rare cases paralysis, muscle damage, abortion and death may occur.

Our treatment approach is to give general supportive care with anti-inflamamatories and fluids given to ease the fever and prevent dehydration.

A vaccine is available to prevent the disease and is usually given around Rodeo time (October). An initial injection is given under the skin with a repeat booster injection performed 2 weeks to 6 months later. Annual boosters are recommended to obtain high levels of protection. More information about the viral disease can be found here.

If you wish to discuss a vaccination protocol to protect against future outbreaks or have any questions regarding 'Three Day Sickness' please do not hesitate to give us a call.