VACCINATING ewes is the only way to stem a resurgence in clostridial diseases.
So warns ADAS sheep specialist Lesley Stubbings. "Last year saw a big increase in clostridial diseases – mainly pulpy kidney and lamb dysentery. That suggests producers are not vaccinating. I believe they cant afford not to."
Ewes should be vaccinated four to six weeks before lambing using a seven-in-one injection to protect against tetanus, lamb dysentery, blackleg, braxy, pulpy kidney, struck and black disease.
"Where flocks are lambing sooner and have not yet been vaccinated, producers should treat ewes as soon as possible.
"Vaccines take time to work. You are stimulating the ewe to protect herself rather than injecting protection directly. It takes time for the ewe to build up immunity and to produce immunoglobulins in colostrum which are vital for protecting lambs."
The passive immunity given by colostrum wanes after 12 weeks, warns Ms Stubbings. "Lambs should be dosed at eight to 10 weeks, with a second dose administered four to six weeks later."
Where ewes have not been vaccinated, Hoescht Roussel Vet says producers can inject lambs. *