Ridgeway Research News

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Many different species of tick can feed on animals.

Tick Prevention Week: Companion Animals

Tick Prevention Week: What you need to know for companion animals What are ticks? Ticks are very commonly found on companion animals, but do you as an owner know how to prevent this? What are the consequences of a tick bite and what do you do if man’s best friend has a tick on him? Ticks are well known vectors of disease, and can transmit disease from animal to animal, and from animals to humans. It is not ticks themselves…

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Tick Prevention Week: Livestock

Tick Prevention Week: What you need to know for livestock What are ticks? Ticks are obligate parasites, meaning they require a host to complete their lifecycle. They are of great veterinary and medical importance as they are only inferior to mosquitos in their disease spreading potential. Tick species feed on livestock and other animals around the world and are a diverse and successful group. Tickborne agents can be mildly pathogenic, severely pathogenic and some can infect humans too. Additionally, ticks…

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Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis What is toxoplasmosis? Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. While symptoms in humans are usually mild, if a pregnant woman becomes infected, it can have severe implications for both her and her baby. Infections in livestock animals such as sheep can cause abortion of lambs and lower birth weights. Infected cows , however, tend to be more resistant to the disease.1 What is the lifecycle of Toxoplasma gondii? The only definitive hosts of Toxoplasma,…

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Avoiding Lambing While Pregnant

Why you should avoid lambing if you’re pregnant Lambing season is upon us and the lovely sight of new-born lambs brings a welcome spring picture after the long winter. However, lambing can pose quite a significant risk to pregnant women. There are multiple bacteria, parasites and viruses that are present in bodily fluids that can potentially cause problems in humans. This is also true for recently born lambs, ewes that have recently given birth and any contaminated material such as…

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Listeriosis in sheep

Listeriosis in sheep What is listeriosis? The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis across the world. It is associated with serious disease in a wide variety of animals, including humans. Listeriosis is of major veterinary importance in cattle, sheep and goats. In the UK, it most commonly affects sheep.  The gram-positive bacteria can survive in the environment for a long period of time. Grazing animals ingest the organism from pasture, with transmission of the disease via the faecal-oral route.  Listeriosis is a zoonotic…

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Spring Pasture

Spring Pasture: What to consider before letting your animals out to pasture With lambing season upon us, there are many things to consider when grazing animals on spring pasture. Many cattle herds and sheep flocks are housed indoors over the winter months for various reasons. Indoor housing during the winter months provides protection from the elements and cold conditions, as well as conservation of energy that would have been spent keeping warm – meaning the energy can be better put…

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

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

Nematodirosis in Lambs What is Nematodirus? Nematodirus spp. are thread-like roundworms that infect the small intestine and cause nematodirosis in lambs, goats and occasionally cattle. Nematodirus spp. infection largely affects lambs in springtime 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 N. battus as the most pathogenic. Other species are N. filicollis…

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Foot and Mouth Disease: The UK Outbreak of 2001

What is foot-and-mouth disease? In 2001 the UK went through 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 What have we learned from it, and what has changed to stop it from happening again? Foot-and-mouth disease is a viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, pigs and cattle. It is present all over the world and has had a large impact on agriculture for many years.…

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Clostridial diseases can seriously damage sheep flocks.

Clostridial Diseases in Sheep

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 known to be pathogens in livestock, humans, and companion animals. They can survive in spore form in the environment for long periods of time and so are very dangerous. The primary source of infections picked up from the environment is faecal contamination of pasture. At the same time, it is normal for many of these bacteria…

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