Sheep being injected with antibiotics© Tim Scrivener

Sheep farmers should stop seeing vets as a cost and work with them to improve the health of their sheep flocks.

Gloucestershire sheep farmer Pauhla Whitaker said flock health plans should play a bigger role in the future and were a key investment to prevent disease.

“There is huge value in preventative measures and increasing how robust your flock is,” said Mrs Whitaker.

“Sheep price, weather, Brexit; these are all things we can’t change but a healthy flock puts you in a good place to deal with external forces.”

See also: Online tool to make sheep health planning easier

Mrs Whitaker’s veterinary adviser, Phillipa Page of Wood Vet Group, said six critical elements of flock health were made easier with close co-operation between a vet and a farmer.

  • Ewe nutrition
  • Lameness control
  • Body condition scoring
  • Abortion control
  • Parasite control
  • Quarantine

“These are huge areas,” said Mrs Page.

“Joint ill and mastitis are niggly problems in comparison. A team approach is needed to address them, which in turn will help with address specific health problems.”

Quarantine is increasingly important as maedi visna, Johne’s, ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma and caseous lymphadenitis are no longer the “iceberg diseases” anymore because they are problems being bought in, she added.