5 December 1997

Husk on the rise

HUSK in cattle is predicted to increase this year, compared with last, to reach an all-time high since reporting began in 1975.

Last years figure of 330 reported outbreaks was three times the average number occurring before 1992, says the Vet Investigation Centres Graham David.

Although historically husk was a disease of calves, cases are now predominantly in older stock – in-calf heifers or cows, he says.

He attributed this to reduced vaccination which has removed the safety net for the disease. Increased use of modern anthelmintics in calves has also reduced exposure to parasites, preventing them building up natural immunity. Then when challenged as adults, these animals have no immunity to fall back on.