FAR west New South Wales sheep producers have been warned to look out for signs of the condition Humpy Back in their flocks after confirmation of cases in the Bourke area.
Department of Primary Industries Veterinary Officer, Dr Charlotte Cavanagh said Humpyback has been confirmed as the cause of Merino sheep ailing while being mustered for shearing earlier this month.
“A sample was collected from suspected sheep and sent to the DPI Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) for formal analysis,” Dr Cavanagh said.
“Humpyback has been associated with ingestion of Solanum esuralie — also called Quena and potato bush — and also Malvastrum americanum which are generally found 6 to 10 weeks after good rainfall.
“The toxins in these plants cause degenerative changes in the brain and spinal cord,” she said.
“Producers should be aware of the symptoms that include humped back, stress gastroenteritis and fast noisy heart beat.
“There is no cure for Humpyback but producers are advised to allow affected sheep to recover by allowing them to rest and recover, ensuring access to water and shelter.”
Dr Cavanagh said Humpy Back is generally reported in hot weather when full wool Merino sheep are mustered for shearing or during other management practices.
“To avoid Humpy Back, producers should consider rescheduling the muster in cooler weather,” Dr Cavanagh said.
The DPI said it is important that producers report suspected sheep to DPI Veterinary Officer Charlotte Cavanagh on (02)6830 0003, so an accurate diagnosis can be made.
Source: NSW DPI.