Watch your cattle - lead poisoning kills

 DPI Animal Health Officers have investigated an increased number of lead poisoning cases in cattle across Victoria in recent months.
DPI Warrnambool District Veterinary Officer, John Gibney said within the south-west region alone, four separate outbreaks of lead poisoning have been detected.  
 
“Lead poisoning is most common in cattle, and is usually caused by old discarded lead batteries that have become brittle and cracked, allowing cattle to access the lead contained within."

“Young stock seem to be particularly attracted to lead, and most of the recent cases have involved dairy heifers on out blocks or agistment paddocks,” he said.  
 
Mr Gibney said where cattle are being moved to areas not recently or regularly grazed, thorough inspection is required to ensure there isn’t anything within the area that may be detrimental to their health.  
 “Clinical signs include staggering and blindness, and unfortunately death is often the first sign of lead poisoning.

 “Treatment is often unsuccessful but an accurate early diagnosis can help to prevent further losses as other livestock can be removed from the source of  the contamination,” he said. 

 Mr Gibney said lead levels in the liver and kidney of surviving animals can remain elevated for many months. 

 “Animal tissues containing elevated lead levels are not permitted to be slaughtered for human consumption. 

 “DPI imposes restrictions through a Contaminated Stock Notice preventing slaughter for human consumption until lead levels are below an established  threshold.” 

 For further information on lead poisoning please contact your local DPI Animal Health Officer.

 Acknowledgement: Agsene: Department Primary Industry news in the Loddon Mallee region
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