UPPER Hunter landholders are warned to be on the look-out for an increase in animal diseases, following the recent flooding.
See animal assistance hotlines and guides below
Lyndell Stone, Hunter Local Land Services District Vet, says it is important to inspect livestock at regular intervals once it is safe to do so.
“The most important consideration is to ensure livestock have access to clean water and feed,” Ms Stone said.
“Stock that are nutritionally challenged and stressed as a result of the floods, are likely to be more susceptible to a range of diseases,” she said.
“Animals that have been standing in water for some time are susceptible to skin and respiratory infections whilst bacteria, biting insects and worm eggs and larvae may also be present,” she said.
“Flooded pastures can be contaminated with silt and debris which pose a particular risk as wounds or breaks in skin can quickly become infected,” said Ms Stone.
Landholders should also check for plant and feed poisonings, incase livestock have fed on flood affected feed, poisonous plants, weeds or rotting pastures.
“Where possible, producers who are sending stock away on agistment should endeavour to make enquiries as to the presence of poisonous plants on those properties and monitor cattle closely,” Ms Stone said.
“The same applies to stored or standing feed that might also be flood affected,” she said.
“The good news is that if caught early, many of these diseases can be treated with veterinary attention,” concluded Lyndell.
The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) are responding to natural disasters together as the Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Area (AASFA).
AASFA are working with animal owners in flood affected areas to manage impacts on stock and companion animals and to ensure deceased livestock is disposed of quickly and safely.
Simon Oliver, AASFA Incident Controller said the emergency response is focused on the preservation of life however, as flood waters begin to recede, landholders and other community members may begin to encounter deceased stock and other animals.
“We understand the discovery of deceased livestock and pets is very distressing to community, and especially livestock owners,” Mr Oliver said.
“This flooding disaster has sadly seen stock losses across large areas of the North Coast, Mid Coast and Hunter and Greater Sydney areas, where floodwaters impacted farmland,” he said.
“We are working to locate and safely remove any carcasses as quickly as possible to help producers deal with the immediate impact and to reduce the risk of disease and contamination,” he said.
“Flooded areas are often unsuitable for onsite burial, so where possible transport and burial of carcasses is being arranged through appropriate local sites,” said Mr Oliver.
Landholders and members of the public who encounter a deceased animal can report it to Agriculture and Animal Services hotline on 1800 814 647.
“We also understand it can be a shock for community members to encounter deceased stock so we appreciate the effort that goes into reporting these incidents,” Mr Oliver said.
“If people are able to take a note or photo of any tags, brands or ear markings on the stock when reporting them that will help us support the stock owners through this process,” he said
For assistance with animal assessment landholders can register with the Agriculture and Animal Services hotline on 1800 814 647 or directly contact their Local Land Services District Veterinarian.
Local Land Services have also produced the “Caring for livestock in times of flood” guide to assist landholders in monitoring livestock.