Herd Emergency Medicine | Centre for Veterinary Education

Herd Emergency Medicine

A practical approach to herd disease outbreaks in cattle practice

Emergency medicine in cattle practice can be challenging, especially when faced with a large group of affected animals.

This course is designed to give you the essential tools to quickly diagnose and carry out the appropriate treatment for emergency conditions in cattle.

It aims to guide you through a logical and practical approach to investigating and treating herd disease outbreaks. The course will use a case-based approach to provide a critical approach to dealing with common emergencies in dairy cattle and guide you through a logical and practical approach to investigating and treating herd-level disease outbreaks.

Prior knowledge: Participants preferably should have some experience with dairy cattle and access to some large animal textbooks would be useful.

This course is ideal preparation for ANZCVS Dairy and Beef Medicine Membership candidates and practitioners wishing to update their skills. ANZCVS Membership exams for Dairy and Beef Medicine will be held in 2019 – Registration closes on 31st October 2018.

"Alison was excellent.  very encouraging and seemed to put a lot of effort into answering our questions which i really appreciated.  But i also really liked the focus was on learning and not being examined. Enabled one to just focus on learning - very nice. " Lyndell Stone

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Perform a thorough clinical exam on a sick cow, including ancillary diagnostic tests, and develop a problem list.
  • Diagnose the common causes of diarrhoea in an adult cow and describe how to treat them. Describe the individual and herd level factors contributing to these conditions and discuss options for control and prevention.
  • Confidently provide fluid therapy and blood transfusions to sick cows and manage multiple cow outbreaks
  • List the common factors that can contribute to neurological disease in dairy cattle, be able to diagnose and treat these conditions and outline effective control and preventive strategies.
  • Be able to diagnose some common causes of sudden death and acute morbidity in an adult cows and describe how to practically manage and treat these conditions. Describe the individual and herd level factors contributing to these conditions and discuss options for control and prevention. 


1. Flying Cow Poo!  Those cows are pretty loose today!

There are a wide range of conditions that can cause acute scouring in a cow. This module will cover accurate diagnosis and treatment of diarrhoea, including fluid therapy for adult cattle. This module will also present a logical approach to a herd level outbreak.

2. Holy Moly! Them cows are hopping like a mob of kangaroos!!

Grazing normal pastures and hay and silage can result in a multitude of diseases that cause agitation and incoordination. There are also several toxins that should be considered. This module will cover diagnosis, treatment and prevention of some of the more common conditions that cause nervous disease in cattle

3. Call the vet! The cows are dying!

It is a cattle vet’s worst nightmare to be called to a paddock of dead and dying cows. This module will work through a range of common conditions that should be considered when faced with a herd emergency, essential steps for diagnosis and approach to a field post mortem.

4. Stone the flamin’ crows! What have those cows eaten now?!

This module continues from Module 3 with a particular focus on crop and grazing emergencies that can cause acute morbidity and sudden death in cattle

Course Delivery

This course comes with:

  • Video lectures, photographs and useful resources
  • Both  problem based learning and video case studies
  • Self-assessed multiple choice quizzes to test your knowledge and understanding
  • A discussion forum for conversation, debate and information exchange with your peers and tutors
  • An electronic certificate available for download upon successful completion of the course

The estimated time to complete this course is 10 hours. The course will be open for 4 weeks.


Monday 5 November - Sunday 2 December 2018
Delivered Online



Alison Gunn graduated from the University of Bristol in 1988 and moved to Australia in 1990. Completed a Masters in Dairy Cattle Medicine in 1997 and joined the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists through examination in Medicine of Dairy Cattle. Alison has worked in clinical dairy practice in most Australian states and was most recently employed as a Senior Lecturer in Ruminant Health at the University of Sydney. Currently she runs her own veterinary and animal health consultancy business in East Gippsland and is part of a consultancy team working for Dairy Australia’s Countdown Project. Special interests in calf health, milk quality, bovine reproductive performance, on-farm biosecurity programs and farmer and veterinary education.

Course fees

Course Fees

Member TypeTimeOnline
Recent Grad / Part-time Member$289
Student Member$145
Non-member / eMember$578
*Members include: Practice, Professional and Academic members