This section outlines a risk-based approach to managing nutrition-related health problems of sheep, goats and cattle in the live export process, especially at sea.
It is intended to provide information to help the veterinarian and stockperson manage feeding and feed-related problems more effectively.
Most of the nutrition related problems fall into three broad categories:
- adaptation problems where animals have difficulty adapting to feed and feeding systems;
- quality problems where feed quality is compromised and the animals may be reluctant to eat, and;
- supply problems where situations of under and overfeeding may cause disease.
Information is provided on the type of problems that may occur, and how they can be managed. Information is also provided on specific medical management of inappetence, the most common consequence of nutrition-related problems.
The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) provide important complementary information and should be read in conjunction with this section. The ASEL describes the minimum standards for the conduct of the livestock trade including feeding and watering of sheep, goats and cattle at sea.
Veterinarians and stockpersons play an important role in managing nutrition at sea. There may be opportunities for contribution to decisions concerning amount, type and nutrient content of feedstuffs to be loaded onto an export vessel in preparation for a voyage. Once a voyage has begun options for changing feed will be limited. However, important benefits to animal health can still be achieved by relatively minor changes using what ever is available from on-board feed and water supplies.
Veterinarians and stockpersons are also relied on for accurate reporting of clinical and environmental observations to exporters and feed manufacturers on nutrition related problems that may have occurred. The information may prevent problems in future consignments and guide development of future ASEL standards.