The Veterinary Centre diagnosed a number of sheep abortion out breaks this year. The majority of cases tested positive for campylobacter with some toxoplasma. There is very little than can be done when a farm is in the middle of an abortion storm and losses of between 20% and 30% of a lamb crop is not uncommon. In some cases losses can be as high as 70%. Such losses are not just financially crippling but have a significant emotional toll as well.
Both diseases are present on most farms in Otago. A national survey of flocks showed 100% of farms have toxoplasma on farm and around 75% if farms have had exposure to campylobacter.
The risk of disease is highest in hoggets and two tooths, but we see many cases in mixed aged ewes as well, especially when bought-in lines are mixed.
In light of this vaccination is cheap insurance against a disaster.
Toxovax provides one shot for life. Ewes should be vaccinated prior to their first mating, as either hoggets or two tooths.