11 Dec 2015
Sheep producers are reminded to reduce the chance of introducing ovine brucellosis into their flocks by only buying rams from flocks accredited under the NSW Ovine Brucellosis Accreditation Scheme and to have stock proof fences.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Samantha Allan said that up to 30 percent of NSW commercial sheep flocks are believed to be infected with ovine brucellosis.
"Ovine Brucellosis is an infectious disease of sheep spread mostly through mating and it can dramatically reduce lambing rates in infected flocks," Dr Allan said.
"Infected rams usually have at least one abnormal, lumpy epididymis and shrunken testes that can be detected by palpation.
"Ewes do not usually show any obvious clinical signs but can abort and spread the disease. It is carried between flocks by the movement of infected sheep, principally rams."
Dr Allan said if producers are concerned about low conception or lambing rates in their flocks it may be that their flock is already infected with ovine brucellosis.
"Producers are advised to contact their private veterinarian who can help determine what is causing the reduced fertility in their flock and advise them on a program to address the problem," Dr Allan said.
"If ovine brucellosis is the problem it can be eradicated with repeated testing and culling of positive rams and by taking great care to not re-introduce the disease.
Sheep producers can provide assurance to their clients that their rams are not infected by ovine brucellosis by enrolling their flocks in the NSW Ovine Brucellosis Accreditation Scheme through their private veterinarians.
Further information on ovine brucellosis and the NSW Ovine Brucellosis Accreditation Scheme can be found online
Media contact: Anne Brook 6763 1163, 0477 358 305