26 April 1996

Scab at lambing time? Hit it hard and quickly

FLOCKS showing signs of scab at lambing time must be treated as soon as possible.

Dermot OBrien, senior veterinary research officer at the Department of Agriculture, Dublin, prefers treating with an injection, for this removes the risk of mis-mothering.

Both ewes and lambs must be treated with two injections seven to 10 days apart if the mite is to removed effectively. Treating with an avermectin will also cut down the worm burden which often rises after lambing.

Dr OBrien does not rule out dipping heavily pregnant ewes but urges caution. Ewes and lambs – which need to be over 10-days old – must be redipped 10 to 20 days later.

"I have never seen abortion with ewes which are heavily pregnant when they are dipped properly," he says. "Lower the ewe into the dip extremely gently and ensure the water isnt freezing cold and that it isnt a frosty morning.

"It is often best to hand-dip lambs in a small bath for about three to four minutes. Dunk their heads under very quickly or scoop water over them. You must wear the correct gloves and I usually dry the lambs off afterwards." &#42