Farmers warned over autumn pasteurellosis risk

Farmers are being advised to vaccinate lambs for pasteurellosis disease, otherwise known as pneumonia, ahead of the late summer/early autumn when risk period is highest.

AHDB Beef & Lamb are urging farmers to prepare for the disease caused by the change in the weather, by vaccinating at risk stock.

See also: Protecting your flock from clostridial diseases and pasteurella

What is pasteurellosis?

  • Pasteurellosis is an opportunistic disease that affects sheep of all ages, causing significant losses each year to the sheep industry.
  • The disease is often triggered by stress, which can be caused by management tasks such as gathering or shearing, transportation, change in diet, worms and other diseases.
  • Losses can be high and often occur suddenly, with lambs found dead in most cases.

Symptoms include

  • High temperatures
  • Depression
  • Laboured breathing

Preventing the disease

AHDB Beef & Lamb senior scientist Liz Genever says vaccination is an effective way of reducing the risk of the disease and cutting reliance on antimicrobials.

However, a recent survey carried out by Farm Post Mortems found 25% of lambs that died from pasteurellosis had not received the vaccination correctly. For example, they had only only received one dose or the interval period was more than three months.


Correct vaccination

Dr Genever warns that lambs must receive two doses of a combined pasteurella and clostridial vaccine to stimulate immunity against the disease.

“The vaccination programme should be planned so lambs have completed the course two to three weeks before the risk period [late summer/early autumn].

“Even if lambs have received two doses earlier in the year, a booster dose may be necessary in some circumstances prior to periods of high risk, so store lambs may need a third injection before autumn to ensure they have sufficient pasteurella cover.”