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Bloat deaths in cattle – Local land Services warning to graziers

Recent rains have seen an abundance of clovers and medics grow which can cause the deadly condition bloat.

While this growth is a great source of nutrition for livestock, cattle deaths have been reported around the Coonamble district and Goodooga areas as a result.

This spike in deaths is caused by the combination of little dry feed in the paddocks, followed by recent rain and a massive flush of clover growth.

Landholders with these conditions should take steps to prevent livestock deaths due to bloat, according to Central West Local Land Services Regional Vet Dr Jillian Kelly.

"These types of pastures cause a gassy froth to form in the rumen (the first stomach) which cannot be burped up," said Dr Kelly.

"The distended rumen puts pressure on the lungs, heart and blood vessels – death is rapid and treatment is usually impossible.

"Hence, prevention is the key. There are a number of bloat prevention options, such as bloat oils, liquids, pellets, blocks and dry licks. Feeding hay can also help."

Some cases of bloat may be pulpy kidney in disguise, so producers should also give a pulpy kidney vaccination booster now.

Pasture could be high risk for bloat for at least four weeks or more.

"Once the plant gets taller, older, starts to flower or experiences a few frosts it will 'harden up'", said Dr Kelly.

"Once the pasture has hardened up it takes longer to digest and creates more cud chewing and saliva production – returning normal function to the rumen."

Local Land Services recommends that producers consult their district veterinarian or private veterinarian to discuss bloat prevention options for their individual situation.

Find out more about bloat:

Caption: Bloat deaths in cattle seen in central and western NSW; Clovers and medic growth. Images available on request.

Media contact: Rod Campbell (0447 430 160 or rodney.campbell@lls.nsw.gov.au).