Is your flock free from the ticking time bomb of enzootic abortion?
The bacteria, Chlamydophila abortus causes enzootic abortion of ewes (or EAE) and is the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in the UK1 costing the British sheep industry £15-20M per year2.
The big problem with EAE is that the bacteria frequently lie latent (dormant) within infected ewes until the next lambing season.
The ticking time bomb
If an infected ewe is brought into the flock, it is likely to abort in that lambing season and pass the infection to a larger number of ewes. That single abortion may go unnoticed but the bacteria remain latent within these newly infected ewes until the next lambing season when they will abort and spread the disease further, and so it goes on. Having an abortion-free flock this year does not mean that you won’t experience abortions next year or in future years3. Vaccinating the whole flock in year one and then vaccinating replacement ewes in subsequent years helps to ensure you are protected, should the infection enter the flock, from the significant losses this disease can cause.
With unvaccinated flocks, finding the cause of ANY abortion is vital to prevent the spread of infection. Ceva Animal Health has developed Assure Ewe, a subsidised EAE blood testing programme which allows you to diagnose potential cases of enzootic abortion in your flock.
How does Assure Ewe work?
Should you experience an abortion at any time during lambing, please speak to your vet immediately and they will advise on the most appropriate means of diagnosis. It is recommended to test for EAE if you have experienced abortions:
- in 2% or more of the total flock or
- if 2 or more ewes have aborted over a two tothree day period
On the Assure Ewe scheme, your vet will take blood samples from six ewes who have either aborted, been in close contact with aborted ewes or empty ewes that were scanned as in lamb. The sampling should occur three weeks to three months after lambing. The testing of these samples will be funded.
The results will be reported back to us and you can discuss next steps with your vet.