Ridgeway Research News

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Avoiding lambing whilst pregnant

Why you should avoid lambing if you’re pregnant With lambing season upon us and the lovely sight of new-born lambs bringing a welcome spring picture after the long winter, there are some important risks to pregnant women that must be addressed. There are multiple bacteria, parasites and virus’ that are present within the bodily fluids that can potentially cause disease and abortion within pregnant women. This is also true for recently birthed lambs, ewes that have recently given birth and…

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Spring pastures

Spring Pastures: What to consider before letting your animals out to pasture With lambing season upon us, there are many things to consider when grazing animals. Many cattle herds and sheep flocks are housed indoors over the winter months for various reasons. I’m sure they wouldn’t be too fond of the recent snow flurries that we’ve had! Indoor housing during the winter months provides protection from the elements and cold conditions, as well as conservation of energy that would have…

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FEC: What is a faecal egg count and why should I use them?

What is a FEC? Faecal Egg Counts, also known as FEC, WEC or EPG count assesses the worm burden within an animal. A FEC does what it says on the tin – a technician will look at the faeces and literally count the number of eggs in a set amount of the faeces. This is then taken as a representative for the burden of the animal. Results are typically presented in EPG or eggs per gram, allowing you to compare…

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Nematodirosis in Lambs

What is Nematodirus ? Nematodirus spp. is a thread like roundworm that infects the small intestine and causes disease in lambs, goats and occasionally cattle causing a high number of deaths. Nematodirus spp. infection largely affects lambs at spring time as adult sheep develop a natural resistance to the infection. Due to its unique development and life cycle, a phenomenon known as the spring flush can occur. Three species of Nematodirus spp. can affect sheep, with Nematodirus battus the most…

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Foot and Mouth Disease: The UK Outbreak of 2001

What is foot and mouth Disease? In 2001 the UK fell party to an epidemic of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) which led to the slaughter of 6.5 million animals and a cost of £8 billion.1 But what have we learned from it, and what has been done to stop it from happening again? Foot-and-mouth disease is a viral disease found in cloven hoofed animals such as sheep, goats, deer, water buffalo, pigs and cattle. It is present all over…

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Clostridial Diseases in Sheep

What are Clostridial Diseases? Clostridial diseases are a group of severe diseases seen in sheep caused by Clostridia spp. bacteria. These bacteria are widely recognised as pathogens in livestock, humans, and companion animals and can survive in spore form in the environment for long periods of time. Faecal contamination of pasture is the primary source of infections picked up from the environment. At the same time, it is normal for many of these bacteria to inhabit the intestines of healthy animals. The problem…

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Sheep Scab and Psoroptes ovis

What is Sheep Scab? Sheep scab is a endemic disease caused by Psoroptes ovis, more commonly known as scab mites. Scab mites defecate on the skin which causes an allergic reaction. With a short life cycle of only 14 days, scab mite populations can increase fast and can infect an entire flock, even more so when kept indoors and in close proximity. The mite can survive for up to 17 days off the sheep but must use the sheep to complete…

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Happy New Year: A round up of all of the parasites we have seen this year

Happy New Year: A round up of all of the parasites we have seen this year We’ve been lucky enough to see quite a range of parasites at Ridgeway this year, including some new ones and some that we are already familiar with. We thought we would share a few of these with you as a little round up of our work this year. We look forward to seeing what new and exciting species 2021 brings for us! Dictyocaulus filaria…

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Christmas 2020: the perfect opportunity to nurture your mental health and take time for yourself after the strangest of years…

Christmas 2020: the perfect opportunity to nurture your mental health and take time for yourself after the strangest of years… Who would have thought that 2020 would entail a global pandemic and very altered day to day life as we know it? Why didn’t Doc from back to the future warn us just to skip 2020 altogether? Jokes aside, it’s been a really tough year for everyone. Whether that’s been from lack of work, working extra hours, becoming ill or…

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Cystic Ovarian Disease

Cystic Ovarian Disease What is Cystic Ovarian Disease in cattle? Cystic ovarian disease (COD) is a major problem associated with poor fertility in dairy cattle. Reportedly, from 6 to 19% of dairy cows develop cysts, however it is possible that the incidence of the disease is as high as 60%, as many heifers which develop ovarian cysts recover without intervention1, meaning they may go undetected. It is characterised by the presence of one or more enlarged anovulatory follicles on one…

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