One of the many factors that can influence your flock’s productivity and profitability is your animals’ disease status. And nothing can have more devastating consequences than introducing disease. A thorough quarantine protocol can help you prevent exactly that. The aim of such protocols is to protect you and your neighbours, by safeguarding animal and human health. Any visitor can potentially spread disease between farms. Farm workers, postal workers, animal health professionals, family visitors, vehicles, feedstuff, water, manure in aerosol form, wildlife and animals in various stages of the disease are some of the many ways to breach the disease level of your stock.
There are two aspects to quarantine, biosecurity and biocontainment. Biosecurity refers to stemming the spread of disease between farms, whereas biocontainment refers to stopping the spread within a farm. Isolation should apply to purchased sheep and rams, as well as your own when they come back from the remote parts of the farm to join the main flock. Our recommendation is the isolation box should be near the entrance of the farm and preferably separate equipment should be used to feed, clean and disinfect it to the rest of the farm.
If we are looking to prevent the introduction of resistant worms and scab to your farm, we usually advise to isolate animals for 24-48 hours. During this time any anthelminthic resistant worms, will pass their eggs through in the quarantine floor and not on your pastures. During this time also any CODD, CLA or orf should also manifest. Before you release the quarantined animals, worm them first and do not turn them out to clean pastures. We want any incoming worms to compete with those on your farm, domestic worms that your stock is hopefully immune to.
For other diseases the quarantine period should extent to 30 days, or in case of averting contagious abortion until after lambing has completed. These protocols should be part of your flock health and assurance plan, that includes a comprehensive worming plan in conjunction with FEC. Your vet is instrumental in assisting you devise such plan.
Some of the important diseases we should have in mind, when it comes to quarantine are:
- Bluetongue and Schmallenberg
- PGE & Liver Fluke
- Sheep Scab, Lice
- Enzootic Abortion, Toxoplasmosis
- Foot-rot, CODD
- Caseous Lymphadenitis, Paratuberculosis (Johnes)
- Sheep Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Scrapie, Maedi-visna virus