12 May 2000

SHEARINGANDDIPPING RISKS

SHEARING tends to result in many cuts and knicks, particularly where sheep have lumps and bumps.

It is for this reason that contractors can act as the intermediary agent between flocks, helping to spread CLA.

Both flockmasters and contractors must be extra vigilant and aware of the threats of CLA, says MLC sheep scientist Jenny Anderson.

During shearing time it is particularly important for contractors to ensure they have washed down and disinfected all their tools and mobile equipment, to prevent them spreading CLA between flocks.

But its not just equipment that must be carefully cleaned; its clothing and shoes as well, says Dr Anderson. "So wash your clothes well, in as hot a water as possible, to help kill the bugs and give your shearing moccasins a good boil as well." she adds.

This is particularly important when they have been working on a flock that has the disease, says SAC vet Graham Baird. "Shearers will of course be able to spot lesions and bumps more easily as the wool is taken off."

Although bugs can travel via shearing equipment, independent vet Chris Lewis says tight penning after shearing probably causes more spread.

"The bugs are then able to drop into the cuts and knicks made during shearing."

The best policy is not to mix young and old stock and to allow more pen space, he says. Graham Baird agrees and points out that shearing and dipping are two high risk times of spreading CLA in your flock.

The best policy to avoid disease spread is to handle lambs and shearlings first and dip or shear rams at the end of the day. These should only be followed by any animals with, or suspected of having, CLA, says Mr Baird.

Shearing and dipping are two high risk times of spreading CLA in your flock, says Graham Baird.

SHEARINGORDIPPING

&#8226 Handle lambs and shearlings first.

&#8226 Treat rams last unless you have infected animals.

&#8226 If this is the case, treat infected or suspect animals last.