We’re crossing our fingers that we’ve seen the last of the dust storms that have been making a regular appearance across the state in previous weeks. However, as we head into summer, we thought a timely reminder wouldn’t hurt as we’ve fielded a lot of calls about the impact they’ve had on stock.
Water quality can be a major issue after a dust storm blows over, with even a slight contamination of trough water enough to turn stock off. A thin layer of dust on the surface of an otherwise clean trough can be enough for them to refuse it, so once the dust has settled checking water sources should be a priority.
If any stock are off their feed, or have nasal discharge, fever, depression, coughing or laboured breathing, they might be suffering from respiratory disease which can be caused in dusty conditions. Call your veterinarian as soon as you see any of these signs appear.
Spores of clostridial bacteria (like those that cause pulpy kidney and tetanus) live in soil, and can be ingested or can contaminate wounds when dust is stirred up. The best way to prevent this is to make sure their 5-in-1 vaccinations are up to date. The bacteria that causes pinkeye is also spread by dust - early signs are tears running down the face, followed by the classic inflamed pink eye. Most sheep pinkeye cases are self-limiting, while the preferred treatment for cattle is antibiotics and a patch glued over the eye.
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