Vets are urging farmers to renew their vigilance when trading cattle following a confirmed outbreak of a disease which can cause infertility and reduced milk yields in infected animals.
A number of cattle brought to the UK earlier this month in a consignment from an assembly centre in France have tested positive for Bluetongue virus BTV-8, the Government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced.
The animals were destined for four farms in England and Scotland and will be culled on-farm to avoid the disease being spread.
According to the British Veterinary Association, the positive tests for the disease are a timely reminder to livestock keepers to trade animals carefully.
Gudrun Ravetz, the Association’s senior vice president, said: “It is reassuring that the systems we have in place for post-movement testing have ensured the disease has been detected quickly, and that action has been taken.
“However, it is a grave and timely reminder to all livestock keepers of the importance of responsible sourcing of animals, and of fully understanding the potential disease risks of importing animals from areas where disease is known to be circulating.
“Farmers should always consult their local vet and act within their farm health plan when sourcing new animals.”
Bluetongue is spread via infected midges and mild autumn weather heightens the disease risk. Symptoms include eye and nasal discharge, drooling, swelling around the head or mouth, lethargy and lameness.
BTV-8 does not pose a threat to human health.