While memories of the 2008 bluetongue outbreak may fade, a recent resurgence in the UK has farmers rightfully vigilant. This viral disease affecting ruminants like sheep and cattle, primarily transmitted by biting midges, poses a serious threat to animal welfare and farm businesses. It is crucial for UK livestock farmers to watch out for potential symptoms and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to safeguard their livestock.
The discovery of bluetongue serotype 3 (BTV-3) in Kent and Norfolk has triggered Temporary Control Zones (TPZ) and heightened surveillance across the country. While no midge transmission is confirmed yet, the proximity of affected areas in Europe makes vigilance essential.
Symptoms to watch out for:
Early detection is crucial for swift action. Farmers should be on the lookout for signs like:
- Fever: A rise in body temperature, often the first indicator
- Oral lesions: Ulcers and erosions on the tongue, gums, and lips
- Facial swelling: Puffiness around the muzzle, eyes, and ears
- Lameness and respiratory issues: Difficulties walking and breathing can occur in severe cases
Protecting your livestock
Whilst biosecurity remains the primary defence against bluetongue, some other measures used to mitigate include:
- Vaccination: The most effective preventive measure. Consult your vet for advice on appropriate vaccines for your region and animals.
- Midge control: Reduce midge breeding grounds by eliminating stagnant water sources around the farm. Insecticides can also be used strategically.
- Movement restrictions: Be mindful of animal movement, especially from areas with confirmed cases. Obtain necessary permits and follow official guidelines.
Effective control requires a collective effort. Reporting any suspected cases to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is crucial for timely intervention. Participating in surveillance programs helps monitor the spread of the disease and guide control measures.
Bluetongue may pose a challenge, but by staying informed, prioritising biosecurity, and cooperating with authorities, UK farmers can safeguard their livestock and prevent an extensive outbreak. Working with Livetec you can protect the health and well-being of your animals and the future of the UK’s farming industry.
Staying informed on outbreaks of bluetongue with the Livetec Systems App
Having instant reporting of a bluetongue outbreak in your area can help you take immediate steps to protect your livestock.
The Livetec Systems App gives cattle and sheep farmers and keepers a direct feed into new bluetongue outbreaks. It will also let you know if you suddenly find your holding in a Temporary Control Zone.
Protect your animals. stay informed and download the Livetec Systems App here.