Sudden cattle deaths often result from clostridial disease, but it is thought that many such cases are not investigated, which would
allow prevention advice from vets.

David Harwood of the Vet Lab Agency, Winchester, said clostridia were always there, but triggers such as moving or diet changes could start disease.

Of those investigated 40% were blackleg, typically in cattle less than a year old. Knowing what was causing the deaths could allow vets to advise producers on ways to reduce trigger factors and vaccines, he said.