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Latest Animal News from Ddole Road Veterinary Clinic

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        All are welcome to our pre-lambing meeting:

On Thursday 22nd February at 7:30 at Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells

We will be covering nutrition of the pregnant ewe and how this effects lamb performance and getting the most out of your sheep vaccines

The meeting will focus on the importance of vaccinating sheep to prevent diseases, and why sometimes vaccines do not work as well as we expected.

Specifically looking at Clostridial and Pasturella and Orf vaccination in ewes and lambs and how we can get the best immune response in sheep to prevent disease.

There will be presentations by Liz Jones and Kate Hovers, a veterinary surgeon working for MSD.

So if you have any questions for the MSD vet and rep about use of Ovivac P, Heptavac P, Ovipast, Scabivax, Footvax, please come.

With lambing fast approaching the focus for February’s Newsletter is problems of the pregnant ewe:

Barren ewes can be caused by a number of factors including:

Nutritional- selenium deficiency and poor nutrition, low condition score when turn to the ram

Fluke- fluke damage-either acute or chronic fluke- ewes will not cycle or if get pregnant will not sustain pregnancy.

Toxoplasma- will result in higher level of barren ewes

Border disease virus

Infertility in rams

Diagnosisof the cause of barren ewesis through:

Fluke and worm egg counts, testing for triclabendazole resistance and worm drench resistance

Blood tests: Protein levels, GGT(liver enzymes), selenium and copper levels, toxoplasma and border disease antibodies

Trace element blood testing the following year, 1-2 months pre-tupping

Fertility testing rams

MSD/CEVA are sponsoring a Barren Ewe Check in 2018, to check for Toxoplasma and enzootic abortion

Abortion can be caused a both viral and bacterial infections:

Enzootic abortion-caused by bacterial infection Chlamydophila Abortus, causes abortion in last 4 weeks of pregnancy, dead stinky lambs, sometimes ewes will die if don’t abort foetuses, also a cause of weak lambs at birth.

Toxoplasma abortion- protozoal infection that can affect any stage of pregnancy- so causes barren ewes, but also abortion in late pregnancy, lambs often look normal, can get white granular thickening on placenta.

Campylobacter- bacterial infection spread by carrier sheep and wildlife, abortion occurs in the last 2 months of pregnancy.

Salmonella- bacterial infection often spread by carrier sheep or wildlife, abortion in last 2 months of pregnancy.

Listeriosis- is a bacterial infection from poorly preserved silage, causes abortion often seen alongside ewes with clinical listeriosis (head tilt, etc)

Border Disease- is a virus that causes barren ewes, abortion and hairy shakers

Schmallenberg Virus/SBVis a virus that will cause abortions in later pregnancy often associated with foetal deformities.

Diagnosis of abortion

1. Collect placenta with cotyledons and aborted lambs- bring both to your vet and we will collect samples we need.

2. Blood testing: enzootic/toxoplasma/SBV and border disease, timing critical depending on problem- barren ewes should be blood tested January/February, aborted ewes April/May

Treatment and Prevention:

1. Must isolate all aborted ewes, dispose of aborted lambs and placenta and disinfect the area.

2. LA oxytetracycline (Alamycin LA) only works to treat enzootic abortion, use of LA antibiotics actually prolongs the time that ewes excrete Chlamydia, meaning more ewes abort next year.

3. Abortion vaccinate for enzootic abortion/toxoplasma abortion.

4. Prevent wild birds, starlings getting into feed troughs and clean feeding areas regularly.

5. Enzootic abortion, toxoplasma abortion, salmonella, campylobacter are ZOONOTIC (passes to humans) and are all very dangerous to pregnant women and people with impaired immune systems.


Bacterial infection that picked up from poorly preserved silage and soil contamination of feeding areas. We are seeing an increased number of cases of listeriosis this year, because of the muddy conditions.

Causes- sudden death, septicaemia, neurological signs-head tilt, facial paralysis progressing to meningitis

Scour and death-typhlocolitis and abortion.

Treatment: high doses of Penicllin at 2-4 times recommended dose rates-8-10 mls of Ultrapen LA for 60 kg ewe every 48 hours

Avoid feeding poor silage, but remember 3 week incubation period.

Keep feed troughs clean and try to avoid soil contamination.

Foot problems associated with housing ewes:

Housing sheep is the perfect environment for rapid spread of both scald/footrot and CODD in your flock. But also provides the perfect opportunity to treat and control footrot/CODD.

Ways to control:

1. Use of Footvax vaccine, 1 month pre-housing to boost immunity against the bacteria that cause footrot and scald.

2. Quarantine lame sheep into pens. These sheep can then be repeatedly treated with antibiotics- Alamycin LA, Betamox LA, Zactran..

3. Footbath rest of sheep on entry to the shed

4. Keep bedding dry, plenty of straw and lime to increase pH and kill bacteria, make sure water troughs are not leaking.

Eye Problems in ewes: there are 3 main causes of eye problems

Periorbital Eczema-Caused by bacteria Staph Aureus, causes hair loss and infection around eyes.

Pink eye- caused by a bacteria, Mycoplasma, causes red and watery eyes.

Uveitis- caused by a bacteria Listeriosis, causes cloudy, red eyes and leads to blindness.

Increased eye conditions in pregnant ewes for several reasons:

Suppressed immune systems

Close head to head contact of sheep during feeding from troughs/ring feeders both outside and in sheds.

Poor weather, high winds, snow and rain.

Listeriosis from poorly preserved silage

Treatment and prevention:

Try to isolate affected ewes- mycoplasma highly infectious and spreads rapidly.

Spread out feeding areas, limit head to head contact.


Topical-Orbenin, Engemycin

Injectable- Oxytetracycline-Alamycin LA, Zactran, Draxxin, Pencillin-Betamox LA for periorbital eczema

Subconjunctival injections- 10% oxytetracycline only.

Do not feed poorly preserved silage.

Vaginal Prolapses: Problem of the last 4 weeks of pregnancy.

Risk factors include- excessive body condition score (excessive internal fat), multiple births, and previously prolapsed.

Feeding regimes- excessive concentrate feeding only once daily leads to acidosis and bloat.

Always make sure adequate forage available and feeding small and often concentrate feed, MUST FEED TWICE DAILY AT A MINIMUM, to prevent prolapses.

Low calcium levels and prolonged recumbancy-lame ewes.


Clean prolapse and replace


Long acting antibiotics-Pencillin-Penstrep, Ultrapen LA, Betamox LA

Painkillers/anti-inflammatories-FLUNIXIN OR MELOXIDYL- daily in the muscle for up to 3 days.

If all else fails, epidural and suture.


Aim to lamb down condition score 2.5, not too fat.

Feeding- always make sure silage/hay in front of sheep

Concentrate feed twice –three times daily, allows more even rumen fill, and reduces acidosis-less drop in rumen pH, less chance of excessive gas production and bloat.

Encourage ewes to walk onto yard and around sheds

Twin Lamb Disease:

Affects ewes in the last month of pregnancy in ewes carrying twins, triplets or greater.

Will effect both over fat ewes (fatty liver) and very thin ewes.

Usually found in grass/silage fed ewes-especially poor quality silage/hay and ewes which have inadequate concentrate supplementation.

Can be precipitated by a stressful event such as vaccinating, transport, harsh weather conditions.

Clinical signs: ewes become quiet and do not eat, disorientated, blindness, weakness, collapse and death

Treatment- Collate multilamb, i/v glucose injection,

Once eating try sugar beet pulp-very palatable

If all else fails steroid injection to induce abortion and save the ewe.


Increased demand for calcium in late pregnancy due to sharp increase in calcium requirements by foetus and in milk production.

Older and thinner ewes susceptible

Brought on by stress, sudden changes in diet in late pregnancy, transport

Certain diets, sugar/fodder beet, have low levels of calcium

Care when feeding home mixed straight feeds, that mineral is mixed in properly

Clinical signs:Ewe cannot stand, dribbling at the mouth, quiet, sometimes difficult to tell if twin lamb or hypocalcaemia.

Diagnosis: Blood test affected ewes before treatment

Treatment: Calciject no 6- 50-80 mls under the skin or Calciject LV-10-20 mls in the muscle

Prevention: Use compound feed for pregnant ewes and/or Buckets- especially for grass fed ewes/ or ewes on root crops.   

01597 822044

Ddole Road Veterinary Clinic
Unit 5a Ddole Road Enterprise Park

Opening Hours:

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