News & Advice

Clostridial disease, cheesy gland & leptospirosis protection

Jul 5, 2021 | Dry stock, Sheep

Ali Cullum, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Morrinsville

Optimal Lamb Health Starts with the Ewe

When the ewe is vaccinated 4 weeks pre-lambing, maternal antibodies are produced in the colostrum being made in the udder. When consumed by the lamb in the first 12-24hrs after birth these specific maternal antibodies protect the lamb from the corresponding diseases for 6-8 weeks. This is essential to protect the lamb from death or illness until its own immune system has time to respond to the disease challenge.

Lambing, marking, weaning and any time there is a change of diet are high-risk times for clostridial disease but sheep can be at risk from clostridial diseases at all times as their spores are found everywhere in the environment and within the animals own tissue. Correct vaccination according to the product label is imperative for effective immunity.


It takes Two

Previously unvaccinated ewes and lambs require: 

  • 2 vaccinations at least 4-6 weeks apart. In ewes, ensure the booster is given 2-4 weeks pre-lambing.
  • In lambs, for optimal protection, begin the vaccination programme at docking, with the second dose 4-6 weeks later.
  • If replacements have been correctly vaccinated as lambs, a single annual booster 2-4 weeks pre-lambing is all that is required for continued protection.


Why two doses?

The first “priming dose” stimulates the immune system but doesn’t give long-term protection against disease. The second “booster” dose stimulates protective antibody levels and gives ewes or lambs 12 months protection.

  1. Maternal antibodies in the colostrum provide immediate but temporary protection for the newborn from infection. This is influenced by the vaccination status of the dam.
  2. The first dose of vaccine primes the immune system, but only provides a small amount of short-term protection. In some animals, there may be no protection at all from this dose.
  3. After the second dose of vaccine, the immune system is capable of providing better disease protection. In most cases, this protection lasts 12 months.
  4. An annual booster dose is required to ensure the immunity of the animal continues to remain high for another 12 months. Without booster doses the animal is at risk of disease.
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