After-hours/Emergency Phone: 07 573 7606

07 573 7606

Te Puke Veterinary Centre Ltd


Theileria is a blood borne parasite that damages red blood cells in the cow and results in anaemia and in severe cases, death. The current strain, Ikeda, has only recently been found in New Zealand and has been causing severe issues around the North Island.

The parasite is spread by ticks and causes the most severe disease in naïve animals, or periods of high stress. We are seeing the most clinical disease in the spring, closely followed by autumn.


Clinical signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Pale mucous membranes (eye, mouth, vulva)
  • Decreased milk production
  • Recumbancy
  • Death

There are 2 options for treatment - blood transfusions and an injectable drug, Butalex. Which treatment is best will depend on the severity of signs, so if you are suspicious of Theileria, call us to discuss.


The cornerstone of managing Theileria infections is early disease detection and managing herd stress levels by preventing disease and ensuring feed levels are adequate. Stock movements to and from areas where Theileria is present need to be undertaken with caution. Strategic tick control is part of a management plan but will not be the silver bullet that cures your farm of Theileria.

We are in an area where Theileria is common. It is important that you have a management plan in place and both you and your staff are educated about disease so that the disease impact can be minimised.


DairyNZ also have some useful resources:



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