Rise in cattle deaths linked to poisoning
A SPATE of plant poisonings has led to the deaths of a number of cattle in recent weeks.
North Coast Local Land Services has warned cattle producers about the increase in livestock poisonings, which usually occurred when cattle were introduced to unfamiliar surroundings containing toxic plants or when other feed is scarce, and animals went looking for greener pastures.
"Common plant poisonings on the North Coast include bracken fern, red lantana, mother of millions, green cestrum and oleander," LLS district veterinarian, Dr Liz Bolin said.
"Symptoms of poisoning can include loss of appetite, depression, loss of body condition, recumbency and death."
Dr Bolin explained with recent rainfall came the added risk of nitrate poisoning as nitrate levels can become high especially when rain follows a long dry period or when nitrogen fertilizer had been applied.
"Nitrate levels in the plants will vary during the day with levels highest in the morning, care should be taken, especially when introducing hungry stock into risky paddocks," she said.
"Cases of nitrate poisoning have also occurred where cattle have been fed hay high in nitrates. When supplementary feeding it is important to introduce new feeds slowly"
For more information or if you suspect your cattle may be suffering from plant toxicity, contact your private veterinarian or the North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian on 1300 795 299.