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Blackleg

Blackleg is a highly fatal disease of young cattle caused by the spore forming, rod shaped, gas producing bacteria Clostridium chauvoei.

Clostridia are group of anaerobic, spore-forming organisms found in the soil/environment, which produce rapidly fatal disease by secretion of potent toxins.

Conditions such as botulism, blackleg, bacillary haemoglobinuria, malignant oedema and tetanus are all caused by clostridia.

Most cases occur in young stock between 10 months and two years of age. Feet or legs and the tongue are often the predilection site.

Symptoms

  • Lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Unwillingness to move

Treatment

In most cases the animal is found dead without being previously observed sick.

Prevention

Vaccination is available that will protect cattle from a number of different illnesses caused by clostridia.

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