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Important to be aware of these diseases; FARMING ROBERT GIBSON


RESPIRATORY diseases are often considered a problem of younger sheep, but some conditions affect both young and old with several acting mainly on the adult animal.

It is important to be aware of the various diseases as many have an important effect on welfare and production, even though they may be chronic in nature.

Pasteurellosis |PRIMARILY caused by the bacteria Mannheimia haemolytica, this leads to pneumonia in older sheep, mastitis in ewes and septicaemia in lambs.

The symptoms of the pneumonic form tend to be depression, lethargy and anorexia, with raised temperature and laboured breathing.

Rapid treatment with antibiotics can lead to a successful outcome, but sheep are often found dead as a result of the disease.

Prevention is via the use of vaccination. Maedi-Visna |THIS is a progressive viral condition which appears in two forms. Visna presents with neurological symptoms, while Maedi exhibits in a respiratory form. Maedi (meaning gasping or panting) is the most common form of the disease. The incubation period is at least two years, with symptoms normally appearing when the animal is three or four years old.

Normally, the clinical signs include wasting - but with a good appetite - progressive breathlessness and sometimes a cough.

This disease is progressive and usually leads to death in three to six months from the appearance of obvious signs. No treatment is available.

Pulmonary adenomatosis (Jaagsiekte) |THIS is a virally induced contagious tumour affecting the lungs of sheep.

Transmission is facilitated by close contact. Signs develop slowly and are usually noticed between two and four years of age, manifesting with poor exercise tolerance and increased rate of breathing, although appetite remains good.

Fluid accumulates in the lungs and can discharge through the nose when the head is lowered or the back legs lifted.

There is no treatment and affected sheep should be slaughtered as soon as possible.

Death often occurs following a secondary infection. There is no treatment.

Parasitic bronchitis |HEAVY infestations of lungworm can cause coughing and weight loss but the condition is uncommon and generally dealt with when the animals are treated for gastro-intestinal worms.

Chronic suppurative pneumonia/lung |abscesses OFTEN seen in mature tups, it is difficult to identify by examination alone.

Sheep often present with a history of weight loss, but may be eating normally.

The temperature may be increased slightly, with a more obvious respiratory effort and occasionally a cough. Treatment is prolonged and may be unsuccessful.

Larangeal chondritis | This condition is an acute obstructive disease of the upper respiratory tract, caused by a chronic pus producing lesion in the larynx.

It is identified by severe noisy breathing problems - once heard, never forgotten - often seen in breeding tups between 18 and 24 months of age.

Treatment needs to be aggressive and prolonged to ensure that the patient does not relapse.

IF you think you have any of these problems in your flock, you should discuss them with your vet to put in place treatment and prevention strategies in your flock health plan.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2014
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