Antibiotics at lambing: scour and joint ill – Sheep Farmer

14 Jul 2017

Antimicrobial use in agriculture, particularly blanket use of preventative antibiotics (prophylactics) in healthy
animals, has come under the spotlight. At the same time there have been documented cases of antibiotic
resistance in lamb scour and joint ill bacteria, so now is a good time to work with your vet to look at on-farm

Joint ill and scour are the most common reasons for antibiotic usage in neonatal lambs but we can reduce reliance if we consider infection risks and implement management changes. E.coli infection typically presents in neonatal
lambs with constipation followed by scouring, dehydration, collapse and mortality.

So called ‘rattle belly’ or ‘watery mouth’ can be a significant cause of poor thrift and lamb losses. Although there are some strains (K99) that are especially aggressive, lambs typically become vulnerable to E.coli when necessary criteria are not met.

Key words: colostrum, colostrum quality, udder, weaning, flushing, culling, lameness, fluke, nutrition, ration


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