As you have probably heard of late in the news there is much talk about this virus which was previously a tropical disease found in Australia and Japan, but has since gone on to infect Germany ( hence the name "Schmallenburg" where it was first seen in Europe), Belgium and the Netherlands, and now in just the last few weeks it has been found in the South of England on 74 farms to date across Norfolk, Sufolk, East Sussex and Kent with more cases coming to light every day.

Adult ruminants infected with the virus may experience a transient milk drop, temperature and diarrhoea or no clinical signs at all, but infection of cattle and sheep during pregnancy results in foetal malformations. Most notably the malformations seen include contraction of the limbs ( athrogryphosis), twisting of the neck/ spine (torticollis ) and swelling of the head due to large amounts of fluid filling the cerebral hemispheres of the brain (hydranencephaly). Affected newborns may appear to have neurological signs typical of "dummy" calves with blindness, paralysis and signs indicating lack of cerebral function, many may be so malformed that if they are born alive they may require to be euthanased on welfare grounds restulting in huge losses for affected farms.

The virus is thought to be spread by vectors such as culicoides midges, Mosquitos and ticks so it's spread may have occured due to climate changes that have resulted in favourable conditions for these vectors in the previous season. The condition is thought not to affect humans or other animals apart from cows and sheep.
Recent reports (June 2013) from SAC confirm 3 cases in Northern Scotland, around Aberdeen so it is thought that this will travel South, to us and cases in the South, will travel North towards us, so it looks like it is here to stay and will spread further via these biting insects.

If you think you may have any cases that meet the clinical signs mentioned above then please get in touch with us through our large animal office 01382 811111 and one of our large animal vets can advise you.