Blowflies turn their attention to cattle

13 July 2001

Blowflies turn their attention to cattle

CATTLE producers may be surprised to find their animals suffering from blowfly strike this summer, traditionally the bane of sheep producers.

Due to foot-and-mouth decimating sheep populations in some areas, blowflies are being attracted to cattle as a replacement site for laying their eggs, says Penrith-based sheep vet Matt Colston.

"There have been isolated cases of adult and young cattle, grazing in areas where sheep would normally be, suffering from fly strike."

Producers need to regularly check cattle for early signs of strike, particularly those with scours or foot problems. "Cattle will go lame or sore spots appear which they rub and gnaw. An attack is more likely in warm, humid weather."

Insecticides will kill maggots, but when one case is found all other cattle should be treated with a pour-on as a preventative measure, he adds. Keeping up with routine worming of cattle in low ground areas will also reduce scour, which attracts flies.

However, sheep are still most at risk from strike and producers must complete routine preventative management. The condition is likely to present a particular problem in sheep this year, according to Virbacs Mike Squire.

"Large numbers of sheep have been subject to movement restrictions which has meant many producers have been unable to move them to fresh pasture or carry out normal worming treatments. So in many cases scouring has been a problem."

Producers should complete routine preventative management including worming and insecticide treatment, advises Mr Colston. But normal treatment programmes have posed particular difficulties for producers managing sheep on common grazing, where movement has so far been impossible. &#42

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