Chickens & Red Mites

Red mites are small external parasites of chickens that live in the cracks and crevices of poultry housing.  They are blood feeders and mainly feed at night but if there are large numbers they may be seen during the day.  They then return to the housing during the day where they lay their eggs.  They…

Facial Eczema and Alpacas

Alpacas are very susceptible to the toxic effects of facial eczema spores and high risk periods occur during the summer and autumn. The spores, produced by the fungus Pithomyces chartarum, are broken down in the digestive tract releasing the sporidesmin toxin. The toxin is absorbed into the circulation and reaches the liver where it is…

How to collect a sample for facial eczema pasture spore counting.

Facial Eczema Pasture Spore Counting Facial eczema is a disease caused by the fungus Pithomyces chartarum; which produces a toxin (sporidesmin) resulting in liver damage and photosensitivity. It grows on dead plant material at the base of the sward and thrives in warm, humid conditions. A good way to determine the risk level of your…

Sheep Reproduction Services

  VSHB are involved in some large artificial breeding programmes such as the release of breed such as Finnish Landrace, the Texel, the Awassi and the East Friesian and work closely with individual New Zealand breeders with AI/ET programmes for advancement of superior genetics.   In the last 12 months (despite Covid-19) we successfully Implanted…

brown lamb standing on grass

Flystrike in Sheep

What is Flystrike? Flystrike is the most significant ectoparasitic disease of sheep in New Zealand, both from an economic and animal welfare perspective. The main flystrike challenge is during warm humid conditions, normally from November through to March, however this can vary seasonally and in some cases the challenge period can occur from October through…

three brown sheep on grass land

Ewe Mastitis

Mastitis in ewes is something I’m sure many of you have battled with over the years, it is a condition we are very familiar with in cattle, especially in the dairy sector, but we are less accustomed to treating it in our ewe flocks. This season we have had a few more cases presented to…

white sheep on brown grass field near body of water during daytime

Drench Checks

Do you know whether that drench you just gave your stock is working? They may look to be free from signs of parasitism, but a drench can have lost a significant amount of its efficacy before you will notice any clinical impact. Continued use of a poorly effective drench is a perfect recipe for building…