Important information about Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis in susceptible breeding ewes causes abortions, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Research indicates that ewes infected with Toxoplasma in early gestation experience fetal death and resorption. This is often mistaken for ewe infertility and results in the unnecessary culling of otherwise fertile animals. Ewes infected in mid-gestation or later are likely to abort, or give birth to stillborn or weak lambs that fail to thrive.

Toxoplasmosis costs you in three ways:

    • The loss of lambs by abortion; either by low-level unseen losses, or large-scale abortion storms.
    • The birth of weak lambs, which fail to thrive, or die.
    • The culling of fertile ewes, which because of undetected early abortion are presumed barren.

Toxoplasmosis occurs throughout New Zealand. In fact, research shows it has been present on 100% of New Zealand sheep farms. Every sheep flock can be affected by ongoing insidious fetal losses and abortion storms. Ewe hoggets and two tooths are at most risk, but any ewe that contracts Toxoplasmosis for the first time while she is pregnant is likely to lose her lamb/s.

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