Beef Vitamin B 1 Deficiency

Vitamin B1 deficiency or Thiamine deficiency has an effect on the brain of ruminants. It is usually sporadic (one animal affected at a time). However it can occur in outbreak form or as ongoing losses over several weeks or even months on some properties. Clinical symptoms include not eating in the early stages followed by a range of possible nervous signs including staggering, head held erect, apparent blindness, muscle trembling, hypersensitivity, head pressing, rolling of the eyes, repetitive chewing and facial twitching. Affected animals eventually go down, cant stand up and without treatment die. Most farmers diagnose the condition as grass staggers (magnesium deficiency or ryegrass staggers). The cause of this deficiency can be quite complicated and varied. However it often is caused by a sudden feed change, which result in the excessive ruminal breakdown of thiamine by certain bacteria produced in excessive numbers as result of the dietary change. This can, for example, happen soon after applying sulphur fertilizer. Early treatment with Vitamin B1 injections is often successful. However a prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential. It is well worthwhile contacting your vet if you see an animal or animals showing the symptoms listed. Often it is a single cattle beast in a mob that will show symptoms. Rather than treating it incorrectly or leaving it to die the correct treatment, which is inexpensive, will often save it. With the value of cattle at present, treatment is very cost effective.