Tagged: “sheep”

Sheep and Beef Articles

The following is a list of Articles that might be of interest to you.  Just click on the title and you will be directed to the article:

Clostridial Diseases

Clostridial Diseases

Clostridial diseases include Pulpy Kidney, Tetanus, Malignant Oedema, Black disease and Black Leg.
It is a little concerning that there are some farms that do not vaccinate against these diseases.  A comment I get when talking about clostridial vaccines is – “Why should I vaccinate when I don’t have the disease?”  A relevant question if you truly did not have the disease, but what did suddenly kill that well grown calf last autumn, or why did that weaner die and “blow up” so quick last spring.
The clostridial bacteria are plentiful.  They are in the environment, they are the bugs responsible for decomposing dead organic matter either animal or plant.  They can be found in the gut of animals.  When they get out of control – there is trouble.
Pulpy Kidney causes sudden death of calves after a change of feed – usually the biggest calf in the mob. 
Tetanus bacteria enter the body from a cut in the skin and lead to “lock jaw” and terminal seizures. 
Malignant Oedema (gas gangrene) gets in from skin wounds, which become necrotic, then gassy – the animal then succumbs to blood poisoning.
Black disease occurs secondarily to liver fluke infection.  The immature liver fluke damage the liver, allowing clostridial bacteria to multiple, causing tissue damage followed by blood poisoning and death.
Black leg causes necrosis and blackening of muscles (usually of the leg) followed by gas production, blood poisoning and death.

Treatment is usually unsuccessful
.  The progress of the disease is so rapid that animals are usually just found “dead”.
Traditionally these above diseases have been prevented by using “5 in 1” vaccines – e.g. Ultravac 5 in 1.  This is a good place to start, but in New Zealand we do have 6th bacteria which is not included in the 5 in 1.  Infection with this one causes “sudden death syndrome”
Covexin 10 protects against 10 types of clostridial infection that can be found overseas.  It is considered the gold standard for clostridial vaccination and is the vaccine of choice for cattle.
The normal vaccination protocol is a sensitizer dose followed a month later by a booster dose starting as early as 2 weeks old for Covexin 10, and starting at any age for Ultravac.  A booster dose is due every 12 months thereafter.

Facial Eczema

Facial Eczema



At times spore counts will exceed 500,000, and even over a million in many areas, usually only in the North Island which is considered as “high risk”.  That risk may continue into June in some areas.
Prevention may require more than one approach. e.g. Time capsules and pasture spraying.

Zinc can be used in a number of forms, but at high spore count, there will still be some affected animals.  For lactating cows at least, ensure they also get limeflour and organic copper.

Zinc oxide for drenching or mixed with feed. 2.5grm/100kgs lwt/day minimum

Zinc sulphate (mono or heptahydrate; know which you have because they have different dose rates.  Mono approx 5 grm/100kgs, Hepta 7.5gms/100kgs) can be used in water or feed.  Make sure you have the correct dose.  Make sure you check what sort of zinc is in meal and at what concentration!

Zinmol is a molasses zinc product, useful in shed or in feed.

Time capsule zinc boluses give good coverage for 4 – 6 weeks.  Ensure you are using the correct sizes, and they must be repeated, up to 3 times.

Mycosorb added to drench or feed appears to help – use in addition to zinc – there is no research to prove any effectiveness against F.E, but it seems to help at high risk.


Some further points to consider ..

  1. Spraying pastures with fungicide needs to be done early enough and is also not foolproof.
  2. Preventing access to all ryegrass based pasture works but is almost impossible in most situations.
  3. Higher levels of zinc, at crisis levels, can be used for short periods.
  4. Remember zinc itself can be toxic, causing pancreatic failure and haemolysis, even death.
  5. Affected animals need easily available high energy feeds and bland fibre such as good quality hay.  Limit ryegrass where possible.  Plenty of shade or summer covers.  Good quality water without competition.  Zinc ointment or other sunscreen for affected skin or teats.  Starter drench and monopropylene glycol drenches are useful.  High doses of vitamin B12 injections to aid appetite, liver function and healing.  Oils and fats help – good energy source for the animal not dependant on liver function.  Many animals will require additional calcium, either in feed or as CBG under skin.  May need dextrose/glucose I/V.  Can be more susceptible to other infections.
  6. Lactating cows – milking will depend on severity but should be only OAD or less.
  7. High performing well fed cows have an exponentially higher liver blood flow so are often at higher risk, and will show more clinical signs but also tend to recover much better.  Supplementary feeding does not reduce risk – “dilution” is irrelevant as animals still tend to be eating the same amount of grass and spores, just get extra on top!
  8. Apparent severity of clinical signs is not always a good indicator of degree of liver damage or likelihood of recovery.  Some of the most severely affected may show no obvious signs at this stage


Grass Samples for Testing:

We need 60 gm (bread bag full) of grass from a height at which the cow is eating to. Do not get soil in the sample. (you will need to cut close to the ground) . Collect multiply samples from different locations where you anticipate moving your cattle.

Have them delivered to The Vet centre, and we should have your results the same day.

If you have further querries, please phone us (5445566) or contact us