News & Advice

Darth Vader cow

Jul 30, 2019 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare

Rebecca Smith, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Morrinsville

Recently I have been called out to a number of cases of cows with sticks up their nose. For something that sounds so simple, it is surprisingly difficult and time consuming to remove sticks which are wedged in a cow’s nose. Adding to the frustration, these cases can develop secondary infections which require ongoing treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

Why does this happen?

Well, cows (just like people) can get itchy and inflamed nasal passageways which they need to itch (most frequently on a Barberry Bush). The twigs from these bushes get lodged in their noses and cause more trauma and inflammation to the nose. The initial itchy nose can be caused by many different things (just as in people) but one of the key preventable causes is a respiratory infection called Catarrh. Catarrh, or Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) to give it its fancy name is a highly contagious, viral respiratory disease that is caused by Bovine Herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1). Animals are most at risk of catching the virus when they are young, but once infected, they can have the symptoms, such as itchy throats and noses and Darth Vader-like noisy breathing for life! There are a couple of options available for vaccinating against this disease, so have a chat with your vet to see what might be best for your herd of Darth Vaders! 

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