Pasteurella and clostridial infections can strike any flock without warning. The majority of cases are fatal and can lead to major economic losses.
A recent post mortem study at a Fallen Stock Collection Centre (FSCC) has shown that sheep producers are still losing too many lambs to pasteurellosis and clostridial diseases such as pulpy kidney. The project also recorded a large early spring peak of pulpy kidney disease in lambs. In almost all cases, these were young lambs (two to eight weeks old) and neither the dams nor the lambs had been vaccinated. Remember that pasteurellosis and clostridial disease vaccines in sheep such as Heptavac P work very well and are also cost-effective, which means that most of these losses could have been prevented. Indeed, protecting your next crop of lambs starts well before they are born by ensuring boosters are given 4-6 weeks pre-lambing.
Vaccinating the ewe 4-6 weeks before lambing not only boosts her own immunity, it also increases the concentration of protective antibodies in the ewe’s colostrum and these pass to the newborn lamb when it suckles. This helps give young lambs the protection they need against clostridial diseases and pasteurellosis until they can be vaccinated themselves (from 3 weeks of age).