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HomeBeefVet warns of photosensitisation in cattle at this time of year
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Vet warns of photosensitisation in cattle at this time of year

Vet, Helen Carty of Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service has urged farmers to keep their eyes peeled for skin lesions in cattle at this time of year.

She said that in recent weeks, she has diagnosed photosensitisation and cutaneous lymphoma in cattle, mainly where skin lesions in cattle have been observed.

Photosenitation, as she explained, is sunburn in cattle, which can be caused by consuming certain plants such as St John’s Worth, which can result in hypersensitivity to the sun.

Another cause that she outlined can be liver damage, which can trigger secondary photosensitisation.

She explained: “Typically with photosensitisation, lesions are seen on the paler, unpigmented areas of skin. These areas will become redden and the skin may even ooze. Over time, it may become dry and could fluff off.”

“It is a painful condition. It is important that if you have identified toxic plants to, remove them off that pasture. Ideally, impacted cattle should be housed to protect them from the UV light.”

“Remember that flies could irritate and make lesions worse, so good fly control is an important part of treatment.”

Cutaneous lymphoma and MCF

Moreover, the service has also seen “more” diagnoses of “unusual skin conditions in cattle”, including a case of cutaneous lymphoma.

According to the vet, this is a skin tumour that can impact cattle and usually occurs as a “one-off” in a herd, mainly in those less than two years.

She also pointed to MCF – Malignant Catarrhal Fever – a systemic infectious disease found in cattle and sheep.

She said that in cattle, it usually presents as lesions and often a high temperature. However, the sheep, in many cases, appear to show no visible signs.

“If you see usual skin conditions in your cattle, speak to your vet to ensure we get the right diagnosis and treatment,” she concluded.

Note: The purpose of this article is to inform farmers. You should always seek your veterinary practitioner’s advice and opinion.

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