CropTec Show
24 October 2016 | Online since 2003
Scrutton Bland

FarmingUK Logo
6 January 2014 14:46:53 |News,Sheep

The impact of extreme weather this winter on coccidiosis in lambs

If you have been following the long range weather forecasts in the news lately, you would have seen the tabloid papers warning about this winter being the ?worst for more than 60 years?, bringing arctic conditions until next spring. As lambing season approaches, you might be considering housing your flock earlier or for longer than planned with such hazardous weather on the way. However, prolonged housing can increase the risk of other diseases too, including coccidiosis.
Caused by the parasite Eimeria, coccidiosis is a widespread disease in lambs. Eimeria is found almost everywhere in the environment and most animals would have been exposed to it early on in life. So why is it worth thinking about this winter?
Normally, a healthy lamb in contact with low levels of Eimeria will develop an immune response to protect them from getting the disease in the future. However during a stressful time such as housing due to bad weather, the lamb?s immunity can become compromised and the numbers of infective oocysts in the environment can increase without the animal being able to fight them off effectively. The most susceptible ages are lambs four to six weeks post weaning and signs of disease range from stunted growth and poor weight gain, to full blown diarrhoea and dehydration. So what can you do to protect against it, without compromising development of the lambs? natural immunity?
Lambs housed in overcrowded or unhygienic conditions can often spread disease quickly between different age groups, particularly older livestock to younger ?it?s often these older lambs that excrete very high levels of infective oocysts, compared to immune adult animals that only excrete at very low levels. Farmers are advised to keep pens and feed troughs clean and treat for coccidiosis with an effective product such as diclazuril (Vecoxan® 2.5mg/ml Oral Suspension). Given as a single dose, Vecoxan® allows natural immunity to develop while reducing oocyst (parasite) spread in the environment. There are two treatment options available, early or metaphylactically. Early treatment is advised as soon as any sign of disease is noticed and all animals should be batch treated. The second option is recommended for farms with a history of coccidiosis, after a known stress trigger has occurred such as housing. Treatment should be given 14 days after the incident, before any sign of diarrhoea occurs. Prolonged housing may mean that the anticipated pattern changes, so farmers should be alert to this possibility.
In a recent study, lambs treated with a single dose of Vecoxan® experienced weight gain increases of 30 grams per day, a shorter fattening period and a feed conversion efficiency improvement of 7%.
Farmers must keep in mind that rapid treatment is only half the battle when it comes to tackling coccidiosis. Proper management at housing by keeping lambs age batched, making sure they are not overcrowded and that pen and feed troughs are clean, can all help reduce the stress and overall spread of coccidiosis.
For further advice, farmers are recommended to speak to their veterinary surgeon or Suitable Qualified Person for more information.


0 Comment


Please enter your name


Please enter your email

Please enter valid email


Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment has been submitted successfully. Please wait for admin approval.


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

Ireland | 24 October 2016
My Week: 'Farming is like putting money into a charity box'

Pat O'Donaghue is blunt when it comes to the economics of farming in the west and is frank about the efforts of the present Government to address the financial and structural problems which farmers fa...

Saudi Arabia | 24 October 2016
Saudi Arabia ‘deliberately targeting impoverished Yemen’s farms and agricultural industry’

The Yemen war uniquely combines tragedy, hypocrisy and farce. First come the casualties: around 10,000, almost 4,000 of them civilians. Then come those anonymous British and American advisers who ...

USA | 24 October 2016
California's San Joaquin River - Agriculture vs. a healthy river

The San Joaquin River is the longest river in Central California, and the second most endangered river in the country. But because of dams, levees, and water diversion, over 100 miles of the river has...

Lithuania | 24 October 2016
Lithuania election: Farmers' party in shock triumph

A centrist agrarian party that was previously represented by a single parliamentarian has won a shock victory in Lithuanian elections. With nearly all the results from the second round now in, the ...

China | 24 October 2016
China set to modernise its agriculture

China has easily transformed into a financial hub from in its initial status as an agriculture economy. The entire Chinese economy may not be agriculturally based now, but some decades ago it was. ...

Trending Now


Top stories you may have missed