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Camplyobacter Abortions in SheepCamplyobacter Abortions in Sheep

The Cause:

The bacterium, Campylobacter fetus.  Formerly known as "vibrio".

The Disease Cycle:

A small number of carrier ewes will be persistently infective and may pass the disease to pregnant ewes via faeces or aborted material (i.e. infection is oral).  These newly infected ewes abort in late pregnancy and the cycle can continue.

Most ewes that abort will develop strong immunity but some carrier sheep will always be present.  Thus outbreaks will occur every few years as replacement stock will have no immunity and the carrier ewes in your flock will be available to pass the infection onto these susceptible ewes.

The Aborton:

Ewes usually abort in the last six weeks of pregnancy and you will generally just find dead premature lambs, although some ewes may carry weak lambs to full term.

This translates to poorer than expected lambing percentages and more dry ewes.

There are few consistent specific signs of Campylobacter infection and to confirm the cause of abortion, aborted lambs should be submitted to the veterinary clinic for post mortem and sampling.

What do you do?

Unfortunately, there is little you can do to halt the outbreak this year.

However, to limit the extent of the abortion storm, you should:

  • a. Collect and destroy the products of abortion as soon as possible, and
  • b. Isolate aborted ewes from the main flock for at least 7-10 days.

In future years, you should vaccinate ewes yearly with Campylovexin/Campyvax 4 as follows:

  • a. First year - Vaccinate all ewes (two tooths and older) twice pretupping, at least four weeks apart.
  • b. Subsequent years - Vaccinate two tooths twice pretup at least four weeks apart. Older ewes need pretup vaccination only.

NB: If you are mating hoggets, they should get two shots pretupping in their first autumn and then annual boosters as two tooth and older. If you are not mating hoggets, they get the two shot regime before mating as two tooths- there is no need to do it sooner.

New stock should be treated as two-tooths and be vaccinated twice.

Although flock protection will not necessarily be complete, you could opt to just vaccinate replacement ewes yearly and accept that immunity will gradually decline over the following years.  Older ewes may still be vulnerable but the risk is lowered and the overall cost is reduced. Local experience suggests that this is effective as we rarely see abortion in flocks where a two-shot regime was used in either hoggets or two tooths.

The vaccine costs approximately 46-50c exc. per dose and is the only effective method of ensuring that the disease cycle is broken.


Refugia

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: One of the tools in the parasite battle toolbox is the concept of "refugia". It goes against a farmer's natural instinct to kill every parasite because it means deliberately leaving 5-10% of each mob undrenched. This is done to maintain parasites susceptible to drenches because they've never been exposed.


Reproduction Cycle

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Dogs have an interesting reproductive cycle, rather different to most domestic animals that cycle either seasonally or throughout the year. In the domestic canine, females cycle more or less every six months, with larger breeds tending to cycle less frequently - sometimes only once a year.


Feeding Working Dogs

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Premium Performance Formula. Recommended for large and giant breed adult dogs weighing 25kg or more.


Equine Dentistry

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: With the current surge in interest in equine dentistry, more than a few myths have crept into popular belief. Find out more.


Laminitis

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Spring and early summer are the high risk periods for pasture - induced laminitis, so this is a timely reminder of what this disease is and how you can avoid it.


Vaccination

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: There have been some statements regarding vaccination in dogs (and Dobermans in particular) floating around the internet for some time now which in my opinion are a cause for concern. Vaccination of dogs is done for one reason only - to protect the health of the animal by providing it with immunity against certain very serious diseases.


Sheep Measles

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Sheep measles (Taenia Ovis) unlike true hydatids (Echinococcus granulosus) has no human health risks, but its importance lies in the fact that it leads to cysts through the carcass of the animal which are unsightly and lets face it, who wants to eat meat with visible oozing cysts.


Poisons in Dogs

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Dogs and cats can be poisoned by products that are readily available around the house as well as those that are being used to reduce the possum, rat/mice and slug population. Remember dogs are natural scavengers and even during a hard days work can usually find time to snack on a tasty morsel that they come across.


Gastric Torsion in Dogs

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: We have in the past few weeks seen a number of dogs suffering from acute bloat caused by torsion (twisting) of the stomach. This is one condition which constitutes a true emergency as these animals need surgery very early in the course of the bloat if they are to be saved.


Death by Chocolate: When to call the vet

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: As we enter the time of year where a lot of chocolate is about, we often get phone calls from owners wondering what to do after their pet has possibly or almost certainly eaten some chocolate, or cocoa containing cakes and biscuits.


Treating the Itch

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016:


Prescription Diets for Skin Disease

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: There are many skin conditions that we see on a regular basis, one of the most common being Canine Atopy which is essentially itchy skin caused by allergies. The severity of the disease is variable and can range from mild itching and redness to more severe skin and ear infections.


Case Study - The Bionic Dog and Cutting Edge Technology

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Zac presented to the clinic with left hind-limb lameness of a short duration. We took x-rays of his hock region (ankle), as a swelling was found in this area. This showed an osteosarcoma or bone tumour, these tumors generally hold a very poor prognosis and we often have to amputate the leg (non curative but can extend life expectancy).


Grooming

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Each week across our Napier, Waipukurau, Dannevirke and Masterton clinics our professional groomers are busy making dogs look pretty.


Reducing Feline Anxiety and the Dreaded Vet Visit

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Vet visits can be the stuff of nightmares for cats, and their owners! All too often we see cats that arrive at the clinic having cried for the entire car trip, possibly soiled their cage, and that are generally very stressed. They then get examined, maybe injected, and get back into the cage for the stressful return trip home.


Our Senior Pets

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: At around the age of eight our pets are classified as "seniors". From then on it is extremely beneficial to have a yearly blood and urine sample taken and have these tested to see how your pet's organs are functioning, and establish if there is anything we can do medically to help prolong a happy and healthy life and prevent or slow the onset of disease.


Barley Grass Season

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Barley Grass season is on its way and this pesky seed is a common problem for many dogs. Barley Grass seeds have a sharp barb at one end and are perfectly formed to penetrate skin and travel around the body. Spaniels and Beardies are at particular risk due to their hairy feet, but any dog can be affected.


Selecting Against Canine Hip Arthritis - Penn Hip

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Arthritis is one of the most common conditions we see in a variety of dog breeds and results in pain, loss of athletic ability, and worst case scenario euthanasia. Hip arthritis is common and can affect both young and old dogs. The primary cause of hip arthritis is excessive hip laxity otherwise known as hip dysplasia.


Vaccination of cats and dogs - Why it?s still important

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: For dogs, the use of effective vaccinations has meant that infectious diseases such as hepatitis and distemper, which previously used to kill large number of dogs, are now rarely seen. Unfortunately Parvo-virus is still often diagnosed and commonly causes death in younger puppies.

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