April 24, 2024


Coccidiosis suspected in cattle deaths in Australia's Northern Territory


Investigations into the deaths of approximately 150 cattle in Australia's Northern Territory (NT) indicate that a parasitic disease known as coccidiosis is likely the cause, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.


Last month, about 100 cattle displayed signs of illness while aboard a live export vessel bound for Indonesia. Simultaneously, a similar situation unfolded at an export depot near Darwin, where approximately 50 cattle perished. These cattle originated from a station near Ti Tree in Central Australia and were transported north to Darwin before shipping.


Initially suspected to be botulism-related, NT chief vet Dr Rob said that while botulism couldn't be definitively ruled out, evidence strongly supports a diagnosis of coccidiosis.


The NT government conducted investigations into the cattle deaths at the export depot, while the Federal Department of Agriculture (DAFF) probed the deaths on board the Brahman Express vessel. According to a DAFF spokesperson, coccidiosis has been identified as a potential cause, although a definitive diagnosis is pending.


Coccidia, protozoal parasites residing in the intestinal walls of animals, have the potential to cause disease, especially in young animals or under conditions of stress or overcrowding.


Dr Williams noted that while coccidiosis is common in cattle, it typically doesn't cause disease in adult cattle. He said that the export depot near Darwin followed standard procedures and attributed the incident to environmental conditions rather than management issues.


The NT's Department of Industry has concluded its investigation into the cattle deaths at the export depot, with coccidiosis identified as the likely cause. However, the NT Cattlemen's Association (NTCA) highlighted that the issue may be multifactorial and suggested that botulism cannot be definitively ruled out.


Consultations between the Federal and Indonesian governments are ongoing, with reporting being prepared. The NTCA remains engaged with government bodies to mitigate potential impacts on the broader industry, with the current risk level deemed relatively low.


-      Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Video >

Follow Us