29 August 1997

Give abortion vaccines well before tupping

VACCINATIONS against toxoplasmosis and enzootic abortion in ewes must be carried out at least four weeks before tupping starts.

Herefordshire-based vet Derek Stoakes warns that these are the most common forms of abortion in ewes and advises vaccinating flocks which have a history of either disease.

But treatment should not be applied within the four-week period because this could cause stress and affect fertility. Ideally, four weeks should also be left between vaccines when both are used.

"Also, if this is the first year of treatment against EA in flocks which had abortion cases this spring, vaccination alone will not prevent the disease next lambing."

The pathogen responsible lies dormant in tissue until the ewe becomes pregnant. It then transfers to the placenta and any ewes infected this year will abort even after they have been vaccinated, says Mr Stoakes.

He, therefore, recommends consulting a vet, who will advise on a course of antibiotics to administer in addition to the EA vaccine.

A primary concern with both vaccinations is operator safety because a live vaccine is needed and the diseases can occur in humans. Strict safety routines from the vaccine manufacturer must, therefore, be observed, he adds.

&#8226 For more advice on vaccinating, see our Focus on Stock Health. &#42