Dairy farmers are being encouraged to be vigilant about an
environmental disease that can affect cattle. The reminder comes as Biosecurity Tasmania confirmed a case
of Acute Bovine Liver Disease (ABLD) on a property in the Derwent Valley.
ABLD is an environmental disease and is not infectious. Like
other photosensitivity conditions, it is believed ABLD is due to a toxin or
toxin combination produced by a specific type of pasture fungi. The risk is
often not farm-wide but rather associated with specific paddocks or areas
within a paddock.
There is no specific treatment for ABLD, however moving the
affected cattle away from the pasture where the disease was first observed and
providing shade, easy access to water and other supportive treatments assists
in recovery which can take many weeks. Deaths from secondary issues are common.
Autumn conditions - particularly where there is intermittent
warmth and cooling and the odd shower - is historically associated with the
occurrence of photosensitivity syndromes including ABLD.
The cause of ABLD is unknown although the presence of rough
dog’s tail grass (Cynosurus echinatus) and Drechslera spp.
fungi in the pasture system is frequently associated with the disease.
Biosecurity Tasmania thanks the examining veterinarian and
farm manager for their cooperation.
There is more information about the disease on the DPIPWE
website. Information is also available from DPIPWE Livestock Officers on 1300 368 550.