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Photosensitisation confirmed in Booligal flocks

Local Land Services Western Region is advising graziers to be alert for signs of photosensitisation in their sheep flocks, following confirmation of this condition in the Booligal area.

Photosensitiation occurs when sheep eat certain toxic plants that cause their skin to become highly allergic to bright sunlight.

Local Land Services Western Region’s Biosecurity Officer, Andy McKinnon said that while the source is currently being confirmed, all of the affected properties contained the Panicum species of grass, such as hairy panic.

“It is a frustrating situation for graziers as the flush of growth in dry grass after rain events can sometimes be toxic,” Mr McKinnon said.

“DPI vets have advised that graziers should keep an eye out for physical signs such as drooped ears and swelling around the head.

“And they should act quickly as badly affected stock can die from shock and infection of the damaged skin.”

The only way to manage it is to remove the flock from the paddock where the trouble is occurring and put them in a darkened shed or shady paddock.

Any graziers that suspect their flock may be affected by photosensitisation should contact their nearest vet for an accurate diagnosis.

For more information about photosensitisation, read the DPI Prime Fact No 449 ‘Photosensitisation in stock’, available at dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Local Land Services Western Region provides advice and support on biosecurity issues, such as animal diseases and weeds. Contact your nearest office via western.lls.nsw.gov.au.

Media contact: Michelle McGranahan 0428 784 282