Broiler Litter Linked To Rise In Ni Botulism Cases In Cattle

NORTHERN IRELAND - The number of cases of botulism in cattle in Northern Ireland has increased in recent years.

And investigations by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Veterinary Sciences Division (VSD) has provided strong circumstantial evidence that broiler litter is a risk factor for many of these outbreaks.

A DARD spokesman said that the Department was working closely with the livestock and poultry sectors in Northern Ireland to help ensure producers were aware of the most effective control measures.

"Reports from private veterinary surgeons, and a reducing number of submissions of suspect botulism cases to VSD, indicate that the various control measures already implemented by the industry are having a positive impact on the incidence of this disease.

"However, as cases continue to occur, DARD wishes to advise farmers on the steps that may be taken to prevent this disease during the current grazing season."

Botulism is caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. These organisms are commonly found in the environment and will grow to high levels in decaying organic matter including animal and bird carcases. "It is believed that contamination of broiler litter with the carcases of chickens that have died from various causes during production can render the litter dangerous for cattle," the spokesman said.

Source: FarmingLife
calendar icon 27 May 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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