Diagnosing Ovine Abortion
A. Anderson, DVM
As we discussed in an earlier
issue of Vetís Corner (September 2001), abortion in ewes has
many causes including infectious, toxic, genetic, nutritional,
and environmental. In
many cases, the actual cause may have occurred days, weeks,
months, or even a year earlier and are now gone, making a
positive diagnosis difficult.
A decomposed or contaminated fetus only further
complicates the diagnostic efforts.
Due to these factors, up to 50% of all ovine abortions
may go undiagnosed. Despite
the odds, at least a presumptive diagnosis is necessary to
take corrective action or develop a preventative plan in hopes
of reducing or eliminating further losses.
should you do if your ewes begin to abort?
Call your veterinarian as soon as
can advise you on how to handle the material before they
arrive to collect samples.
Isolate the aborting ewe and aborted
fetus from the rest of the flock.
These materials may be infectious and can be
transmitted to the other ewes.
Avoid extensive foot traffic between
the affected and unaffected areas.
Wear separate coveralls and boots if possible.
Disinfect thoroughly between visits.
Care must be taken while handling the
materials because some of the infectious agents are also
contagious to man.
If your veterinarian is not readily
available or the risk of predation is high, it may
advisable to place the fetus and placenta in a clean
plastic bag. The
samples should be chilled, but not frozen.
Transportation to a diagnostic laboratory or your
veterinarian should be performed as soon as possible.
After the samples are collected,
dispose of any remaining material completely and properly.
Disinfect the surrounding area very well.
Your veterinarian can help advise you on
Based on your veterinarianís
presumptive diagnosis, a plan of action should be
developed and followed to reduce any further losses.
Ovine Abortion, continued.
At Colorado Serum Company, we provide vaccines specifically
developed to prevent two of the most common causes of ovine
abortion, enzootic abortion (EAE) and vibriosis/campylobacteriosis.
If these diseases are confirmed or suspected, a
preventative plan should include vaccination with one of the
CHLAMYDIA PSITTACI BACTERIN
For the prevention of enzootic
abortion of ewes (EAE) caused by Chlamydia psittaci.
Vaccinate ewes sixty days prior to
breeding with a booster dose thirty days later.
Revaccinate yearly prior to breeding.
FETUS BACTERIN, Ovine origin
prevention of vibrionic abortion of ewes (vibriosis/campylobacteriosis)
caused by Campylobactre fetus subspecies jejuni
(type I) and subspecies intestinalis (type V).
ewes thirty days prior to breeding with a booster dose
sixty to ninety days later.
Revaccinate yearly around breeding time.
always, read and follow label instructions.
For help with your flock health program, feel free to give our
veterinary staff a call.