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Supplies of clostridial animal health vaccines must be secured as soon as possible before spring lambing and calving, say experts. Vaccine shortage for beef and sheep

• Order ASAP to secure clostridial supplies

• Warning of increased risk without booster

• Speak to your local animal health adviser

Supplies of clostridial animal health vaccines must be secured as soon as possible before spring lambing and calving, say experts.

Shortages of clostridial vaccines to protect youngstock from birth are being reported this year, says Farm SQP of the Year Elizabeth Barratt.

“We are seeing supply challenges with vaccines,” says Ms Barratt, of Mole Country Stores.

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.”

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, explains Ms Barratt.

Coxexin 10 is available to combat the main clostridial strains in sheep and cattle. The vaccine also provides passive immunity to youngstock when pregnant animals receive a booster 2-8 weeks before calving or lambing.

Supply issues

Covexin 10 protects against the main clostridial diseases in sheep and cattle. For cattle, this includes black disease, blackleg, malignant oedema, tetanus and botulism.

In sheep, it includes 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 are at risk of clostridial diseases. Clostridia bacteria is more widespread in the natural world than many people realise.

This includes in soil, rotting vegetation, decomposing animal matter, surface water and spoiled animal feed.