Skip to content

Not always a worm problem

Dr. Evelyn Walker – Central West Local Land Services District Veterinarian

A landholder from the Narromine area was concerned that Barber’s pole worm had struck his eight-nine month old Merino weaners again. He had lost six in one weekend. Deaths were sudden and others in the mob were doughy and listless. The weaners had been late mulesed, drenched and had been grazing on lucerne for several months.

Post-mortem examination confirmed pulpy kidney with no signs of worms present.

Upon further questioning, it was revealed that this mob of lambs had received only a single 5-in-1 clostridial vaccine at marking time. It was not routine on this farm to give booster vaccinations for pulpy kidney at weaning. There is no effective treatment for sheep affected by pulpy kidney or clostridial disease.

This is an important reminder of vaccination tips to avoid sheep losses.

These include:

  • Vaccinate all sheep with a clostridial vaccination (either a 5, 6 or 8 in 1 vaccine) in the face of an outbreak and move sheep to a low quality pasture and/or provide hay only for a week to 10 days until immunity develops.
  • All young stock and unvaccinated sheep require a minimum of two doses of vaccine for clostridial diseases four to six weeks apart (one vaccination will not give complete protection).
  • Yearly revaccination should be practised after receiving two doses of vaccine.
  • Please be aware that in some situations (e.g. constant exposure to lush, high quality feed or feedlots), vaccinations may be required every four to six months for pulpy kidney protection.

Vaccinations are like insurance. You can’t afford not to do it!