Lamb diseases to peak in October

Farmers and producers of lamb are being urged to ensure their sheep are vaccinated as autumn arrives.

The appeal comes after the results of AHDB Beef & Lamb’s Fallen Stock initiative revealed that certain illnesses in lambs were more prominent during the autumn months.

Research from the project, which ran from April 2014 to June this year, showed that pulpy kidney, a common clostridia disease, was at its highest levels during October 2014 for lambs receiving hard feed.

Graph provided by AHDB Beef & Lamb

It is believed this can be attributed to a change in their natural diet as the seasons change. Where lambs had been receiving hard feed, most had not received a booster prior to the change in diet.
Furthermore, immunity that they might have obtained from drinking colostrum at birth might have worn off by this time, implying that a vaccination booster could aid them.

“If producers are keeping store lambs during this period, they should be vaccinated ahead of any anticipated adverse weather or other stressors such as moving,” claimed Dr Liz Genever, senior sheep and beef scientist.

“Lambs that are vaccinated when they are young, from one-month-old, may lose their immunity by the autumn if not given a booster around September.”

In addition, the research also proved that cases of pasteurella deaths reached new heights in lambs during October.

Graph provided by AHDB Beef & Lamb

“There is a clear need for this, as lambs had been vaccinated according to the data sheet in only 12% of the outbreaks monitored,” added Genever.

“These diseases can be prevented by the administration of appropriate vaccines and should be done as soon as possible.”

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