Important information about Salmonella

Various factors can trigger a Salmonella outbreak, including mustering, yarding, trucking, weather extremes, or a sudden change in nutrition.

Enteric Salmonellosis usually affects sheep from December through to July. There are many strains of Salmonella in the environment. In sheep, the main cause is Salmonella hindmarsh, and to a lesser extent S. typhimurium.

There is no way salmonella can be eliminated - it is endemic in livestock populations, and the number of outbreaks will fluctuate from season to season. The initial source of infection comes from carrier animals that show no sign of disease. Newly infected animals can spread huge numbers of bacteria and rapidly contaminate the environment.

In sheep, mortality can be up to 15 percent in a severe Enteric outbreak, but 3-5 percent is more usual. Symptoms include profuse, watery, smelly diarrhoea which often contains blood, then septicemia and death. Dead animals are often found near water. Survivors can become carriers and spread the disease. If you have any suspicion of disease you need to contact your vet immediately.

In Southern areas of New Zealand, Salmonella Brandenburg can be a major issue, leading to abortions and the loss of ewes. Vaccination programmes for Brandenburg need to be adjusted to ensure the best protection is in place for your farm.

Sheep can be protected through an annual vaccination programme with Salvexin+B. If making the investment in vaccinating your flock or herd, it is essential that this is done properly. Talk to your vet about a vaccination programme that that suits your farm.

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