Dairy cattle health and welfare
Major diseases affecting dairy cattle
Bovine Johnes disease (BJD)
Bovine Johne's (pronounced 'yo-nees') disease is a fatal wasting disease of cattle, goats, alpaca and deer. Bovine Johne's disease is often abbreviated to bjd, and is far more common in dairy herds than in beef herds.
Learn more about Bovine Johne's disease.
Enzootic bovine leucosis (EBL)
Enzootic Bovine Leucosis (EBL) is a viral disease of cattle. Most affected animals show no signs of illness but some develop cancers of the lymph nodes. There is no treatment or effective vaccine for EBL.
The presence of the disease causes economic loss through decreased production and increased mortality of cattle with tumors and restricted trade of cattle, semen, ova, and milk products from affected herds and regions.
BSE (Mad Cow disease)
BSE stands for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is a fatal nervous disease of cattle. It is one of the diverse group of diseases known as the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) that cause degenerative changes in the brain and other nervous tissues.
The TSEs of most importance to the Australian livestock industries are bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and scrapie in sheep and goats. These diseases do not occur in Australia.
Learn more about BSE (Mad Cow disease).
Diseases of young dairy calves
The two major types of problems seen in calves are:
- Gut problems leading to scouring
These two problems account for over 80% of all losses in calves, with scouring being the most common. Bloat, navel-ill, accidents and poisoning make up most of the rest.
Learn more about diseases of young dairy calves.
Also, see How to recognise sick calves.
Foot and mouth disease
Foot and mouth disease is an acute infectious viral disease of livestock causing fever, followed by the development of vesicles (blisters) chiefly in the mouth and on the feet.
It is one of the most infectious diseases affecting livestock and spreads rapidly if uncontrolled. It affects cloven-hoofed animals (those with divided hoofs) including cattle, buffalo, camels, sheep, goats, deer and pigs.
Learn more about Foot and Mouth disease.
Victoria remains free of many pests and diseases. This has provided its agricultural industries with a significant competitive advantage and helped maintain access to premium export markets. It also supports sustainable growth and increased employment in the livestock industry sector.
Despite Victoria's advantageous animal biosecurity status, exotic and other emergency animal diseases remain an ever-present threat to Victoria's livestock industries.
Agriculture Victoria and Dairy Australia have worked together to develop a new on-farm biosecurity tool to assist dairy farmers create a biosecurity plan tailored to their farm. This tool has been based on Dairy Australia's Healthy Farms Biosecurity Framework.
You can access the biosecurity tool to manage risks that could have a negative impact on farm performance.