Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 11: Healthy and Contented Sheep
Tool 11.17
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Many diseases occur on sheep farms. Develop a list of common diseases in your region and be aware of strategies to control the impact if a disease occurs. The table outlines a few common diseases.


Common signs

Predisposing factors


Perennial rye
grass staggers

Staggering, recumbent

Grazing high endophyte rye grass

Remove sheep from toxic pastures and avoid stressful conditions, dilute toxic pasture with supplements, closely supervise cast sheep, replace high-risk pastures with safe pastures


Scouring in weaners

Stress in weaners in cold, wet weather

Treat with antibiotic (consult your veterinarian), avoid stressful conditions for weaners

Pink eye

Weeping cloudy eyes

Dust, summer grass seed infested pasture

Treat affected lambs with antibiotics, avoid high-risk grass seed pastures and dusty conditions

Hypocalcaemia in ewes

Ewes cast after handling, often with hind legs behind, respond to calcium injection

Late pregnant, especially older ewes, heavily grain fed

Avoid handling within 4 weeks of lambing, add limestone 1.5% to grain, feed good-quality lucerne hay if handling, treat cast sheep with calcium injection or calcium drench (10+ grams)

Vibrio abortion (Campylobacter)

Late-term abortion storms with up to 30% of ewes aborting, but usually less than this

Occasionally occurs in flocks especially with grain feeding or intensive rotational grazing

Run maiden ewes with older ewes before mating to ensure maiden ewes are exposed before pregnancy or adopt a vaccination program for maiden ewes