Farm Animal Veterinary Services
Provide your farm animals with top quality care. We provide a full and comprehensive farm animal veterinary service, which includes:
Contact Ddole Road Veterinary Clinic of Powys on 01597 822044 for a large animal vet who has the best practice knowledge to treat your animals and keep your farm running smoothly.
To provide proactive assistance with your flock, we offer the following information for your convenience. Pre-lambing problems to look out for include:
Take action if levels of abortion or barren ewes are above 2%. The two main types of abortion are toxoplasmosis and enzootic abortion. Others causes include border disease, listeriosis, salmonella, campylobacter and Schmallenberg (SBV). Take samples of the whole placenta with buttons and an aborted foetus.
Make sure aborted ewes are kept separate, and cleanse and disinfect where the ewe was aborted. If you’re unable to get placental/foetal samples, blood samples from barren and aborted ewes can be done through the MSD flock check scheme.
Treatment and prevention of abortion includes vaccination of ewes pre-tupping for enzootic and toxoplasma abortion. Use of Alamycin LA for enzootic abortion only does not treat other forms of abortion, which is why a diagnosis is so important. Limit wildlife contamination (bird faeces) to prevent campylobacter and salmonella abortion.
Calcium deficiency usually occurs up to several weeks before lambing, and usually follows a stressful incident such as transport back from winter keep/tack or clostridial vaccination. Certain diets such as root crops and straight cereals predispose animals to low calcium. Ewes become slow and twitchy with a snotty nose and will become recumbent.
The best treatment is with Calcium PMD 20 % (blue top) (50-80 mls under the skin) or Calciject LV (10-20 mls in the muscle). We often treat for both hypocalcaemia and twin lamb disease at the same time. If a lot of ewes are not responding to treatment, we recommend blood sampling four to six affected ewes for calcium/magnesium and BHB as indications of energy deficiency.
Twin Lamb Disease
Twin lamb disease is caused by inadequate energy provision in the diet during the last six weeks of pregnancy, often after rapid change in diet, or inadequate diets. Ewes become slow and appear blind with a droopy head. Treatment for this disease is with twin lamb drench. The best twin lamb drench on the market is Col-late Multilamb Rapid. Glucose injection under the skin can also be used.
Often ewes will be affected by both at the same time, so it’s often best to give slow/downer ewe Calcium PMD 20 % injection and a dose of Col-late the same time. To prevent twin lamb disease, ewes need to be on a concentrate supplementation for the last six weeks of pregnancy.
This is because there is not enough energy in some forages alone, especially hay, in last six weeks of pregnancy. Mineral/glucose buckets should be provided to ewes on tack before transport, or if on straight cereals or root crops.
Protein is vitally important for placenta development, lamb growth, colostrum, and milk production. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy affects lamb birth weight resulting in weaker lambs and poor lamb survival rates.
In late pregnancy the microbial protein produced in the rumen is not high enough quality, or quantity for ewes carrying twins. Ewes fed a continued high protein diet while pregnant have:
Reduction in worm egg output
oya protein is the best source of protein. 100 grams of soya per lamb per ewe per day is needed in last three weeks of pregnancy. Silage-based diets have higher protein than hay, so use of high protein feed blocks, or added urea can help supplement lower quality silage/hay until the last three weeks of pregnancy. Roots tend to be lower in protein, so supplementary protein in last three weeks is needed.
Feeding of concentrates from six to eight weeks pre-lambing should use a flat rate of 400g. Alternatively, try step feeding starting at 200g and increasing weekly. Higher rates above 400g of concentrate must be fed twice daily to prevent acidosis and prolapses.
Listeriosis is a bacterial infection picked up from wetter and poorer preserved silage, but is also due to soil contamination in feed troughs. Infection enters through the mouth and is more common in younger ewes that are changing teeth. Clinical signs of the infection present as:
Progressive facial paralysis
Ewes often hold their head to one side and circle it in one direction. In later stages, as the infection reaches the brain, ewes become recumbent and have fits. Some ewes will suddenly die. The earlier you treat this infection, the better the success rate. Treatment is with double doses of Ultrapen LA.
Take care when feeding silage to sheep, make sure to trim all the white and black mould off and if does not smell nice, do not feed it to sheep! Use additives in silage to help preserve it and stop secondary fermentation and bacterial growth.
Vaginal prolapses are usually due to ewes carrying multiple lambs plus a high intake of fibre and bulky feeds. Always clean prolapses before replacing. We recommend using harnesses and not spoons. Inject the ewe with Duphapen strep for several days to limit infection, and use anti-inflammatory Flunixin to stop ewe heaving.
Prevention of prolapses is by concentrate feeding at least twice a day. Make sure good quality forage is available all the time. Encourage ewes to move around the shed and have adequate calcium supplementation in their diet. Remember it is important to cull affected ewes.
Several eye problems are commonly found in pregnant sheep, such as:
Periorbital eczema - caused by the bacteria Staph aureus, which causes hair loss and infection around the eyes.
Pink eye - caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma, which causes red and watery eyes.
Uveitis - caused by the bacteria Listeriosis, which causes cloudy, red eyes, and leads to blindness.
An increase in eye conditions in pregnant ewes occurs for several reasons, including close head to head contact of sheep during feeding from troughs/ring feeders both outside and in, as well as:
Suppressed immune systems
Listeriosis from poorly preserved silage
Pink eye is highly infectious and spreads rapidly. Treatment and prevention is through trying to isolate affected ewes, and spreading out feeding areas and limiting head to head contact.
Topically applying antibiotics, Orbenin, Engemycin, or injectable antibiotics in the muscle, under the skin. For periorbital eczema use Oxytetracycline-Alamycin LA, Zactran, and Betamox LA, or subconjunctival injections (in the eyelid) of 10% oxytetracycline Engemycin. Do not feed sheep poorly preserved silage.
"You may obtain prescription only medicines, category V, (POM-V's) from your veterinary surgeon or ask for a prescription and obtain these medicines from another veterinary surgeon or a pharmacy"
As long as the animal is under our care we may subscribe you with a prescription for POM-Vs. A prescription may not be appropriate if your animal is an in-patient of requires immediate treatment. There is a standard charge for a prescription, please give us a ring or visit our surgery to find out the cost. The animal requiring repeat prescriptions usually will be re-assessed every 6 months but this may vary with individual cases.