24 November 1995

Coughs could point to cattle husk presence

PRODUCERS with cattle coughing outside should be suspicious of husk.

Both young stock and adult cattle are showing symptoms with grass still unusually lush allowing ideal conditions for worms.

Cattle suffering lungworm infection will have an obvious, relentless, but unproductive cough. Temperature remains normal, and eyes and nose do not run.

"There is evidence sales of lungworm vaccine have fallen off since the early 80s," says Graham David, from the Shrewsbury Veterinary Investigation Centre.

"Rather than vaccinating routinely, producers are relying on anthlemintic control, such as boluses and drenches. This isnt the best way to control husk for it is unpredictable. I have seen outbreaks from May to November."

Mr Graham advises producers who suspect lungworm infection to contact their vet. They should also prepare for outbreaks at housing, which could be confused with other respiratory diseases such as IBR.

Animals exposed to infection, either naturally or by vaccination, usually develop resistance to the disease. "Two doses of vaccine, each containing about 100 irradiated larvae, are administered to calves four weeks apart prior to turn-out, with a minimum of two weeks after the last dose," advises Dr Mike Taylor, head of parasitology at the Central Vet Lab.