Half of farmers failing to vaccinate against enzootic abortion of ewes

Half of farmers failing to vaccinate against enzootic abortion of ewes

Almost half of of farmers are not vaccinating against enzootic abortion of ewes, a new survey has shown.

The study by Ceva Animal Health also found three quarters of them had experienced abortions in their ewes during both the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 lambing seasons and a quarter reported that the problem occurred in more than 2% of their flock, with 44% failing to ask their vet to investigate.

Katherine Timms, Ceva Animal Health’s ruminant veterinary advisor said: “Farmers who decide not to investigate why their ewes are aborting may well experience an abortion storm during the following year’s lambing season as Chlamydophila abortus, the bacteria that causes EAE, has the ability to lay latent in ewes until the next pregnancy.

“This means that one infected sheep shedding at lambing has the potential to infect multiple ewes that will almost certainly abort at their next lambing.

“The consequences can be financially and reproductively devastating for farmers and it’s advisable that vets raise awareness of EAE testing with their clients to help prevent this from happening.  Ceva’s Assure Ewe programme offers farmers subsidised farm serology testing for Chlamydia abortus. Aborted ewes can be tested for Chlamydia abortus, ideally from three weeks to three months after lambing.”

A total of 322 farmers took part in the survey by the manufacturer of Cevac Chlamydia, 83% of which had a flock of over 100 ewes.

Of the 47% of farmers not vaccinating against EAE,  57% said they would consider it.

Reasons not to vaccinate included farmers believing that they had closed flocks (59%) and EAE not having been diagnosed (57%). Only 20% decided not to vaccinate because of cost and 25% because they did not feel it was worthwhile.

Ceva is continuing its ‘For Flock’s Sake – Vaccinate!’ initiative during 2021 to help raise awareness of EAE and highlight the importance of vaccination.

For more information, visit www.enzooticabortion.co.uk

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