5 September 1997

Vaccinate against pasteurella risk

VARYING temperatures and the availability of lush grass and good crops of stubble turnips will increase pasteurella risk this autumn, and producers are urged to vaccinate against it.

Shrewsbury-based MAFF vet Chris Lewis warns that now is the critical period for the T-type strains. "This is seen particularly in store and weaned lambs. Varying temperatures, transport, handling, sudden changes in diet and viral disease are the triggers.

"Pasteurella is sporadic, but causes significant losses. It is usually seen as sudden death, so treatment is rarely an option. But it is preventable, and so sheep – ewes and particularly store lambs – should be vaccinated."

He warns that previously unvaccinated sheep must receive two doses of pasteurella vaccine within four to six weeks to ensure protection. "Just using one dose is a waste of money. The first dose will sensitise the sheep, the second is the dose which confirms protection."

Shearlings which were vaccinated as lambs and are due to lamb next year must also be vaccinated, he urges. "Everyone forgets these animals, but they must have a booster in their shearling year."n