29 January 2015 | Online since 2003



Sheep producers urged to vaccinate against killer threats


With 2014 lamb prices running ahead of 2013 levels, sheep producers are being urged to realise full value for this year’s crop by making sure young lambs on the farm are vaccinated against pasteurellosis and the main clostridial diseases.

According to MSD Animal Health livestock veterinary adviser John Atkinson MRCVS, lambs can succumb to pasteurella and clostridial diseases within hours, often with no warning signs of a disease outbreak.

“Sudden death and pneumonia are responsible for significant losses of unvaccinated lambs each year.

“Many disease outbreaks are caused by pasteurellosis. Pasteurella are a group of bacteria, with Mannheimia haemolytica and Bibersteinia trehalosi being the most important types to cause disease in sheep. Flock problems usually start with sudden deaths, often in young lambs. But occurrence can be sporadic in individual sheep. Clostridial diseases like pulpy kidney, braxy, blackleg and tetanus are also a key threat to unprotected lambs and typically the first sign of any problem is a dead animal,” he warns.

Unfortunately, the colostrum lambs receive from a vaccinated ewe shortly after birth only gives them disease protection for a limited time.

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