Urge farmers to test for enzootic abortion of ewes – Ceva

Vets are being urged to encourage farming clients to test for enzootic abortion of ewes (EAE) if they have experienced an abortion rate above 2% in flocks or at at least two instances within a few days.

According to data released by Ceva Animal Health from its 2021 Assure Ewe subsidized testing scheme, 48% of farms that submitted samples after last year lambing season tested positive for EAE caused by Chlamydia abortus.

The data mirrors the results from the 2020 testing initiative, which showed EAE remained a significant issue on UK farms.

Impact

Under the Assure Ewe subsidized testing program, up to six ewes can be sampled from flocks that do not vaccinate against EAE.

Aborted ewes can be tested for Chlamydia abortus ideally from three weeks to three months after lambing.

EAE is the most commonly diagnosed cause of abortion in UK sheep, costing the sheep industry up to £ 20 million a year. Bacteria can lay latent in ewes until the next pregnancy, and, with shedding, multiple ewes could potentially be infected at the next lambing.

‘Significant problem’

Katherine Timms, ruminant veterinary advisor at Ceva Animal Health, said: “EAE is a significant problem on UK farms, and it can be exceptionally expensive and frustrating to deal with, as infected sheep aborting and shedding have the potential to cause an abortion storm the following year.

“Any abortion outbreak should therefore be identified and managed as quickly and effectively as possible to help prevent the rest of the ewes in the flock from becoming infected. “Vaccination and strict biosecurity provide the best protection against EAE and farmers can vaccinate their ewes from five months of age until four weeks prior to tupping, as long as the ewe is not in lamb.”

Further information is available online.

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