13 November 1998

Abscess red alert

SHEEP producers are being urged to look out for the abscess-causing infection caseous lymphadenitis. This advice follows reports of a flock where 23 of 25 tups were infected by bought-in tups.

According to vets, it is increasing throughout the country but it is difficult to establish how quickly it is spreading and to what extent it is within the UK flock.

Difficult economics

The current economic climate in the sheep industry is making it more difficult, says Brian Preece, head of Starcross veterinary investigation centre, Exmouth, Devon. "Its difficult to establish the true incidence despite offering a free screening service at VI Centres for the last 10 months."

Producers worry about the consequences of positive diagnosis and expense of post mortem examinations, especially where their living depends on selling breeding sheep, says Dr Preece.

"We are aware of the difficulties of the disease and recommend producers remove any infected sheep from their flock. Clean up abcess discharge thoroughly with disinfectant and inspect purchased sheep carefully, looking for lumps, bumps and any scars," he says.