Dec 19

Sudden Death in Sheep


This month we’ve seen a lot of sudden deaths in fattening lambs.

Post mortem examinations of these sheep are essential! We have had cases of acute fluke already but we are also seeing a large number with systemic pasteurella infection.


Pasteurella can either cause pneumonia or sudden death. Sudden deaths caused by pasteurella are often seen in fattening and store lambs in autumn and winter. Things such as moving, handling, weather conditions, poor ventilation if housed, other underlying conditions (infection) can add stress to the animal making them more susceptible. Antibiotic treatment can be given immediately, but please phone for advice.


Some controls methods can help; provide shelter in wet windy conditions, avoiding putting unvaccinated lambs on to lush ground. Vaccination is essential – it’s a very cheap vaccine, well worthwhile doing. Be aware that if there is a huge challenge, even vaccinated animals may be found dead.



Following the vaccination protocol is very important, otherwise it won’t work!


Heptavac P Plus

  • Lambs from 3 weeks of age need 2 injections 4-6 weeks apart! There’s no benefit in just giving one!
  • All breeding sheep need a yearly booster, 4-6 weeks before lambing, which will protect lambs through the colostrum.
  • All hoggs need the vaccine. Remember to booster hoggs even if they’re not lambing.
  • Make sure the vaccine is stored correctly, in the fridge between 2-8oC.
  • Once you have opened the bottle it should be used within 10 hours.
  • Do not use vaccine passed its expiry date.

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