There are several ways to accidentally poison stock with drench that you need to be aware of.
Pour-on is deadly if given by mouth. Overdosing by more than 50% is dangerous, especially with Levamisole or Selenium. There are no Abamectin (Ivomec-type) products licensed for oral use in cattle because of potential for overdosing. Never add drench to bulk tanks such as calf milk feeders as you will have no control over how much each animal drinks.
Always read directions and dose rates carefully, and if you have delegated drenching to other staff, make sure they fully understand your instructions, route of administration, and the dose rates.
Bloat Drench is extremely toxic to calves in it’s concentrate form. Never use old bloat drench drums as calf feeders.
Plants / Trees
- Oleander is extremely toxic, to stock and to people. In one case, 5 leaves killed 5 calves. Remove it with extreme care as scratches can also cause problems.
- Yew leaves, bark and seeds are all poisonous, and just as bad fresh or wilted. Do not throw trimmings into stock paddocks.
- Acorns are particularly poisonous when they are green (fallen during high winds). Calves suckling cows that have eaten acorns are most susceptible, followed by calves eating them, then adult animals.
- Rhododendron has been responsible for the death of several pet lambs, leading to great distress. Keep lambs out of the garden, and trimmings out of the paddock.
- Lily of the Valley contains digitalis glycosides, the same toxin found in foxglove. Once again, keep it away from stock.
There are plenty of other plants that can cause poisonings in stock, including Poa Aquatica (which has locally been known as Oreipunga disease due to its occurrence in this area), rhubarb, arum lily, macrocarpa (particularly after trimming or high winds), ragwort, tutu, hemlock, bracken fern, marijuana, and many others. Most will only be poisonous if eaten in large quantities but are better not to be eaten at all.
Rubbish / Dump Sites
Old car batteries and sheep dip have caused problems due to the lead and arsenic content. Beware the rubbish pile and inquisitive stock.
If you are concerned that your stock has eaten or been overdosed with any of the above, or you are unsure of how safe a product or plant matter is, please ring the clinic immediately on 0800 226 838 or (07) 827 7099 and ask to speak to a vet.