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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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Listeriosis in sheep

What is listeriosis? Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which has a global presence and is associated with serious disease in a wide variety of animals and humans. Listeriosis is of major veterinary importance in cattle, sheep and goats, but in the United Kingdom 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…

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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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Lice infestations in cattle and sheep housed indoors over winter

Lice in sheep and cattle – what are lice? Lice are endoparasites that live permanently on their host, that either feed off of blood meals or on the skin, hair, fleece and any other debris on the skin.  These are named sucking or chewing lice, respectively. Chewing lice found commonly are Bovicola ovis (sheep) and Bovicola bovis (cattle). Sucking lice are also found to affect cattle with 3 species commonly affecting the UK; Linognathus vituli, Solenopotes capillatus, Haematopinus eurysternus, whereas sucking lice…

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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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