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Excellent response to cattle mortality survey

Western and Riverina Local Land Services and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have been working closely with local producers to learn more about unexplained cattle deaths in the Mossgiel, Hay and Ivanhoe areas, after all samples tested negative for exotic viruses.

Western Local Land Services Board Member, Ben Barlow, said a survey was recently conducted as part of ongoing investigations to gather more information about the unusual situation.

"More than 550 farmers received a mortality survey and were asked to indicate the total number of deaths and ages of cattle in the six months to 31 March 2014," Mr Barlow said.

"A total of 227 completed surveys were returned, which reflects a 50% response rate in the Western Local Land Services area and a 39% response rate in the Riverina Local Land Services region.

"Of the 105 landholders who had cattle on their property at the time, 29 reported deaths, but these were not necessarily related to 3D syndrome. 

"Given that these cattle deaths were recorded across all ages and type of livestock, those figures are not unusual, although the Western figure is on the high side."

Mr Barlow said Western Local Land Services is now mapping the location of the respondents and a more detailed, vet administered survey is being developed for selected landholders to determine risk factors that could provide crucial links that lead to the cause.

DPI Senior Veterinary Officer, Graham Bailey said while the cause of 3D syndrome has not been determined, the pattern of disease seen on affected properties and the extensive range of testing for infectious agents indicates that it is not caused simply by the presence of a transmissible agent.

"As there is no evidence that the disease is being spread from property to property, there is no reason to place restrictions on the movement of cattle on account of 3D syndrome."

"In addition to the survey, a detailed assessment of investigations conducted during 2006, 2009 and 2013 has been conducted.

"Of the animals investigated, a number were calves up to three months of age who appear to have died from calf diarrhoea and a number of animals died due to a range of causes other than 3D syndrome," Mr Bailey said.

"The 3D syndrome typically occurs in cattle older than five months, in good condition, with the principal signs of drooling and diarrhoea.

"The cases have generally occurred in the Western and Riverina Local Land Services areas in November and December and appears to stop on each occasion following decent rainfall.

Landholders who suspect their cattle may have 3D syndrome are encouraged to contact their Local Land Services office.

Visit the DPI Website for factsheets and updated information for vets and landholders.

Media Contact:             Maree Barnes 0427 256814