High abortion rates found in UK ewes

More than 80% of UK flocks have tested positive for one or more causes of abortion in the latest Flock Check survey undertaken by Intervet.

This year’s survey, which analysed samples from 270 flocks with an average of 535 ewes, found 219 flocks were positive for enzootic abortion, toxo-plasmosis abortion or both.

And there appeared to be little difference between areas, with the same percentage of flocks – 41% – experiencing both enzootic and toxoplasmosis abortion in England, Wales and Scotland, explains Intervet product manager Ian Anderson.

“Both these causes of abortion are preventable and without direct subsidies there is every reason to vaccinate ewes, as every one must be as productive as possible.

A reduction in abortion levels of just 1.5% is enough to justify investment in vaccination,” he explains.

Intervet says the tests represented 144,400 ewes – about 1% of the UK national flock.