Good hygiene crucial to preventing lamb infections

Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) has emphasised the importance of good hygiene when it comes to preventing the spread of infections during lambing.

In its new booklet, HCC highlights common bacterial infections, including three major ones to be aware of to prevent "considerable losses" at lambing time: watery mouth, navel ill and joint ill.

HCC’s technical development executive Lynfa Davies said: "These bacteria are often present in the environment, but become a significant problem if numbers are allowed to build up."

Signs of watery mouth include newborn lambs appearing lethargic, dribbling profusely, displaying an unwillingness to suck and developing a swollen abdomen.

Navel ill occurs when lambs are born into dirty and wet conditions in lambing pens, and signs of the illness include when the navel is moist, swollen, painful and discharging pus.

Signs of joint ill are lameness with pain, heat and swelling of one or more limb joints, which can lead to poor suckling and ill-thrift.

Davies added: "Infection can be easily prevented, but treatment after infection rarely has a successful outcome. That is why good hygiene is essential to prevent the incidence and spread of infections."

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