• Order soon to secure supplies
• Speak to animal health adviser
• Increased risk without booster
Animal health experts say farmers should secure clostridial vaccine supplies as soon as possible in the run-up to spring lambing and calving.
Supply issues for some clostridial vaccines to protect youngstock from birth are being seen according to Farm SQP of the Year Elizabeth Barratt from Mole Country Store, who urges farmers to plan ahead.
“We are seeing supply challenges with vaccines,” says Ms Barratt.
Although there are stocks of vaccines, I would suggest speaking with your animal health advisor about when you need to vaccinate, how many you need the vaccine for and discuss any alternative options available if you can’t get your required vaccination.”
Stock are currently available of Coxexin 10, which protects sheep and cattle against the 10 main clostridial strains. It also provides passive immunity to youngstock via colostrum when pregnant animals are given a booster 2-8 weeks before calving or lambing.
Ideally, Covexin 10 should be given to animals in two doses 4-6 weeks apart in their first grazing season. Thereafter, all animals should receive an annual booster, explained Ms Barratt.
Covexin 10 protects against the main clostridial diseases in sheep and cattle, including, in cattle, Black Disease, Blackleg, Malignant Oedema, Tetanus, Botulism and, in sheep, Lamb Dysentery, Tetanus, Pulpy Kidney, Black Disease, Blackleg, Struck and Braxy.
Clostridial diseases vaccinations are among the highest priority vaccinations for beef and sheep, according to recently published vaccination guidelines from the National Office for Animal Health (NOAH).
This means herds and flocks should be vaccinated as a default unless appropriate justifications have been clearly identified by the vet and farmer working together, says Zoetis vet Ally Ward.
“Vaccine supply issues over the past year may mean livestock are at increased risk if vaccine boosters have been missed. While some supply issues remain, farmers should be able to secure what they need if they acquire their stock in good time.
“Death from clostridial diseases is still a reasonably common cause, which is frustrating when there are relatively cheap vaccines available to protect livestock. The first time many farmers realise there is a problem is when they find a dead animal,” she warned.
All unvaccinated livestock is at risk of clostridial diseases, with clostridia bacteria widespread in the natural world, including in soil, rotting vegetation, decomposing animal matter, surface water and spoiled animal feed.