Warning for cattle producers

29th March 2023

Bovine Ephemeral Fever cases prompt renewed warning for cattle producers

Local Land Services is urging producers to stay alert for signs of 3 Day Sickness in their herd following confirmed cases in cattle in the Northern Tablelands and northwest of the state.

This includes areas near Inverell, Warialda, Narrabri and Gunnedah and comes after a series of similar reports across the north coast of the state in January.

Local Land Services Team Leader Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Andrew Biddle said these latest incidents highlighted that the sickness was now spreading. “With this virus moving into new areas it is time for farmers to remain vigilant and keep a lookout for signs of Bovine Ephemeral Fever, more commonly known as 3 Day Sickness,” Mr Biddle said. “Signs include animals developing a high temperature, which makes them appear depressed and lethargic, while animals laying down, not feeding, appearing lame, drooling and nasal discharge are also common indications. Landholders who notice these signs should contact their Local Land Services District Veterinarian or local veterinary practice.”

Three-day sickness is an insect-transmitted virus of cattle that causes a high fever and pain in the muscles and joints, with symptoms usually lasting a few days before most cattle recover. Some cattle, especially bulls and heavier conditioned animals, may go down and take several days to get back to their feet, something Mr Biddle said can prompt an increased risk of other complications.

“Untreated animals may die, there is risk of pneumonia, while pregnant cows may abort, and bulls can become infertile for up to six months. Minimising the impact of 3 Day Sickness in your herd will depend on regular observation and timely treatment. Ensure your cattle have easy access to water and shade and that you intervene early with assistance rather than wait too long.

Medication is also highly effective in bringing down fever and reducing muscle and joint pain and can be obtained in consultation with a private veterinarian.”

For more information, contact your local LLS District Veterinarian or visit https://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/.