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TAS Country : September 30th 2010
14 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 1, 2010 LEADING Australian livestock veterinarian, Professor Michael McGowan, cautions farmers who think they can spot a pestivirus infected animal. "Pestivirus is an insidious disease, which doesn't always cause visible symptoms," Prof McGowan said. "It is true that many PI animals are poor doers, but there have also been EKKA grand champions that have later been verified persistently infected with pestivirus (PI)." Prof McGowan is Head of the Livestock Medicine and Production section at the University of Queensland and has been conducting research into pestivirus for over 20 years. "Although pestivirus has been around for a long tim e it is just as much a threat today, with larger farms and intensive farming practices. In a typical self-replacing beef breeding herd without any immunity to pestivirus, an outbreak of infection could cause losses of $30 per breeder per year for 13 years, if undetected" he says. According to Prof McGowan, 90% of Australian herds show evidence of pestivirus infection, but it is the 10% that have not been exposed that are at the greatest risk, because the cattle in these herds have no immunity to pestivirus. "Work done by the QLD Department of Primary Industries has shown around 40% of replacement beef and dairy heifer management groups are completely susceptible to pestivirus. These females are sitting ducks and pose the greatest threat to a farm's ongoing productivity. If susceptible females are infected during the first four months of pregnancy they may give birth to a PI calf. Many of these animals will die or be poor doers, causing immediate production losses. However, some PI calves appear healthy and grow normally, and may be inadevertently kept or sold as breeding animals," he said. Professor McGowan advises farmers to use a straight-for ward risk assessment approach to manage pestivirus in their herds. "Working with their veterinarian, they need to determine how susceptible each of their breeding mobs are, what the likelihood of contact with other cattle is, and then what control options are likely to be most cost effective for their farming operation," he said. Herds producing replacement breeding heifers and bulls should consider a combination of testing of sale animals to verify they are not PIs, vaccination of susceptible breeding females and testing of all brought in cattle to verify they are not PIs. More information is available at the BVDV Australia website www.bvdvaustralia.com.au Pestivirus is haunting the reproductive success of most Australian herds. Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd, 38--42 Wharf Road, West Ryde, NSW 2114. ABN 50 008 422 348. Registered Trademark of Pfizer Australia. PAL0243/TC Health. Performance. Growth. www.pfizeranimalhealth.com.au Pestivirus infection can be a haunting experience. This devastating disease, which impacts on reproductive success through reduced calving, weaning and turnoff rates, can affect every cattle breeder in Australia. You may not think you're at risk, but your herd could already be infected, silently robbing you of their reproductive potential. And if your herd has never been infected before, the introduction of a new pestivirus infection could have a significant impact on the future of your operation. So if you're seeing less calves or more poor doers than you expect, act now and insure your herd with Pestigard . For more information contact your local vet or Pfizer Animal Health representative on 1800 335 374. In terms of its economic impact on cattle businesses, Dr McGowan rates pestivirus as the most serious viral infection of cattle in Australia. Pestivirus: an insidious disease Advertisement
September 23rd 2010
October 7th 2010