Vaccinating against pasteurellosis and the main clostridial diseases can help finishing lambs realise their full value, according to Rosemary Booth, livestock vet adviser for Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health.
“Losing lambs to these easily preventable diseases this summer is throwing money away.”
If ewes are vaccinated with Heptavac-P prior to lambing, lambs will receive a certain level of passive immunity, but this does not last for long.
“Lambs receiving a good intake of colostrum only have antibodies against pasteurella for about three or four weeks and clostridia for up to 12 weeks,” says Ms Booth.
Lambs also have limited protection from pulpy kidneys, braxy, blackleg and tetanus.
“This means some early season lambs are now unprotected and at real risk from these disease threats unless vaccinated themselves.”
Mrs Booth recommends vaccinating finishing lambs with Ovivac-P Plus. “The cost of one severe outbreak of pasteurellosis equates to about 50 years of vaccine use for the average flock,” she says.
The vaccine can be used from three weeks of age and the primary course involves two vaccines four to six weeks apart with an annual booster.