Lambs are born with low level immunity, which is strengthened by receiving adequate colostrum in the first few hours of life. This immunity can last until lambs are about four weeks old, where there is no major contamination in the environment. After this, lambs will begin developing immunity to the disease but this will not kick in until lambs are around eight to 10 weeks old. The period in between is high risk.
Where the infection is picked up by lambs with low levels of immunity, numbers multiply rapidly in the lining of the small and large intestine leading to scour and dehydration. The disease is characterised by a grey or black (blood stained) scour.
Moving troughs and creep feeders regularly outdoors and ensuring bedding is kept clean and dry as lambing draws to a close will help prevent the spread of the disease. Where the disease has been a problem in previous years or an outbreak occurs, treat with an anticoccidial. Vecoxan is an oral drench that can be used for the prevention and treatment of Coccidiosis.
As lambing comes to a close on many farms, it is important to see it through by maintaining a good level of hygiene. Every lamb saved has the potential to add to margins. Over the last few weeks, levels of infection will have built up in sheds as ewes and lambs were retained indoors for longer. Ensure lambs get a quick fill of colostrum. Clean and disinfect bottles and utensils and wash hands and equipment between treating affected cases. The forecast improvement in weather should improve indoor and outdoor lambing conditions. Continue supplementation of ewes and lambs until growth kicks in.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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