Mycoplasma bovis

The NZVA is aware that members are being asked to certify late gestation cows as being fit-for-transport to slaughter premises (and possibly other locations). These cows are, for a variety of reasons, affected by the Mycoplasma bovis incursion (for example, farm or run off under NOD, RP or IP).

The NZVA's advice to members is that members should not certify within four weeks of the planned start of calving.

The NZVA's policy and guidelines are currently being reviewed, including this aspect of certification. Communications to affected parties, including MPI and ICP managers, is imminent regarding the NZVA's position, which should reduce expectation that veterinarians will provide certification for such cows.

Key points to note for cows in the last three months of pregnancy are:

  • If within four weeks of calving date, travel should be less than two hours (allowing for transfer from the run off back to the milking platform)
  • Supplement cows with 12-20g of elemental magnesium per cow, on the day of transport
  • Only transport cows that are not likely to give birth during the journey back to the milking platform.

Cows in late pregnancy affected by the M. bovis response
During the Mycoplasma bovis response, some farms will be required (or may elect) to cull some pregnant cows.

The NZVA emphasises that the first consideration in these circumstance must always be the welfare of the animal.

Strictly speaking, current law allows for transport of late gestation cows as detailed (or not precluded) in the references below, and veterinary certification is not a requirement to transport a late-pregnant cow.

As of 1 October 2018, Regulation 41 from the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 will be enforced, but only limit birth during travel and within 24 hours of destination.

If veterinarians are asked to provide certification, MPI Response personnel (including ICP managers) and MPI Verification Services should be contacted, and processes agreed before certification.

References:

  • The Transport within New Zealand - Animal Welfare Code of Welfare 2016 states: 'Animals must not be transported if they are likely to give birth during the journey or be affected by metabolic complications of late pregnancy as a result of the journey.'
  • The Dairy Cattle - Animal Welfare Code of Welfare 2016 states: 'Any animal likely to give birth during transport must not be selected.'
  • Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018
Jersey cows

  

Mycoplasma bovis


The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is supporting veterinarians to help farmers respond to the detection of Mycoplasma bovis in Canterbury, Southland and Hawkes Bay.

Find resources for veterinarians and links to updates on the response below.

Visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website for the most up-to-date situation reports and resources.

What is Mycoplasma bovis?


Mycoplasma bovis is a bacterium that causes illness in cattle, including udder infection (mastitis), abortion, pneumonia, and arthritis.

In July 2017, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) detected the bacterial infection Mycoplasma bovis in cattle at a South Canterbury dairy farm. This was the first time it has been found in New Zealand.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has assured the public that the infection cannot be passed on to humans and that it presents no food safety risk. MPI have stated that there is no concern about consuming milk and milk products from affected cattle.

Farmers should call their veterinarian if they suspect their cattle are showing any of the clinical signs of the disease. These can include:

  • Mastitis in dry and milking cows.
  • Arthritis in cows.
  • Late term abortions.
  • Premature calves.

Resources

Recently added

Video update from NZVA President

In this short video, NZVA President Peter Blaikie explains the NZVA's role in the eradication decision, what NZVA is doing to support members and farmers, and the role of our new M. bovis Steering Group.

 

July 2018

  • NZVA update: 20 July 2018
    • Transport of heavily pregnant stock and requests for veterinary certification
      • The NZVA is aware that members are being asked to certify late gestation cows as being fit-for-transport to slaughter premises (and possibly other locations). These cows are, for a variety of reasons, affected by the Mycoplasma bovis incursion (for example, farm or run off under NOD, RP or IP).
      • The NZVA's advice to members is that members should not certify within four weeks of the planned start of calving.

June 2018

  • NZVA update: 29 June 2019
    • Update from the CEO
    • Cabinet paper reveals thinking behind M. bovis decision
    • Who's on NZVA's Mycoplasma bovis Group and what they will do
    • Ensuring lifestyle blocks understand the risks and how to protect themselves
    • Biggest risk factors are animal movement and raw milk
    • Possible move towards closed herds – how M. bovis could change farming permanently
    • Latest information from MPI
  • NZVA update: 15 June 2018
    • Video update from NZVA President
    • Dates for industry/MPI roadshows
    • MPI's M. bovis presentation - useful information to share with farmers
    • Latest MPI fact sheet - more details on testing, source of infection

  • NZVA update: 13 June 2018
    • Update from the CEO - what NZVA has been doing regarding M. bovis
    • Limits of commercial testing means on-farm risk assessments needed
    • NZVA sets up M. bovis Steering Group to support members
    • Source of infection and triggers for review
    • Information events for farmers
    • Some key points to reinforce with farmers
      • Biggest risk factors are animal movement and raw milk
      • Clean muddy gear and vehicles before you disinfect
      • Pet days present challenges so risks must be managed

 

Ministry for Primary Industries response updates

If you have any concerns about your animals, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for advice or call MPI on 0800 80 99 66.

 

Dairy and beef industry advice and guidance specific to Mycoplasma bovis
Information for farmers prepared by the NZVA Society of Dairy Cattle Veterinarians, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ.

You can subscribe to updates on the MPI website.