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Biosecurity at Trials


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I helped set stock at a trial this weekend, I found out after I had gotten started that some of the sheep there had active soremouth infections. I am freaking out about possibly bringing it home to my leased sheep here at my house- the dogs have been bathed, my car has been washed, clothing and other fabrics has been washed, and crates, boots, gloves, sticks, etc. have all been Lysol-ed. Really hoping I have done enough to keep the sheep here from getting exposed- have not been anywhere near my sheep since I got home last night, neither have the dogs. I also don't know what the soremouth status of these ewes are, if they have been vaccinated or exposed in the past.


Biosecurity is a HUGE part of my job, so I am very aware of how diseases can travel- have any of you found yourselves at a trial with sick sheep and had to worry about bringing it home? Are you concerned about this kind of situation? How common is something like this? What would you do/have you done? Do you think diseases are less of a risk if it is not sheep-to-sheep contact? Or is there just as much of a risk dragging it home on your dog, clothes, equipment, etc.?

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Since your sheep are leased I can understand your concern.




I keep an open flock and cull anything that has any problems. I have been doing this for 15 years.


You get scald- you are culled


you have mucky back end- you are culled.


I have sheep that are restant to lice


Sheep that are resistant to soremouth


You can breed for anything.


I hardy ever worm and only vacinate with C/D T if I dock or castrate. (And since I don't grain, separate ramlambs and have sheep with short or bare tails not really neccessary most of the time. At least for me.)





However I tell folks this before they come to my place.


Soremouth is transmitted by the active scabby leisions.


It can stay in the enviornment for a long time.




Your sheep are probably fine.

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Sounds like you took reasonable precautions, but I'm no expert. It might be worth a call to a local large animal vet to get any further advice (and maybe a call to the owner of the sheep to find out if they've been vaccinated).

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Most folks don't vaccinate as the vaccine is active. and there are several strains. But you never know.

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Hello everyone,


I agree that it is prudent to be concerned about the possibility of transmitting disease from trial flocks to our home flocks, especially if the trial sheep had active soremouth lesions. While many sheep diseases wouldn't travel well, there are some that certainly could be brought home. Jaderbug definitely was correct to disinfect everything when she got home from the trial, as some of these diseases could also affect us or our dogs.


I attended a trial a few years ago where the trial sheep (a rented flock) had active soremouth lesions. Each night during the trial, this flock was allowed to graze the same field that our dogs used during the day to exercise and relieve themselves. Shortly after that trial, one of my dogs developed a lesion on his upper lip, which proved to be soremouth. I imagine that while he was sniffing around the field, he came in contact with a shed lesion, which caused the infection on his lip.


Regards to all,


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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,


In our frightened nation it is important to distinguish between what just might happen, what probably will happen and what certainly will happen. You cannot completely extinguish soremouth in a flock. Years after its last flareup, you'll spot a ewe with it.


Soremouth can (and does) cause orf in humans. Anytime you handle sheep, wash thoroughly.


I have never heard of soremouth being transmitted from a trial flock to anyone's home flock, nor have I ever heard of anyone contracting orf in the set out pens. Usually it enters a flock by introducing infected sheep. Nancy's example is the first I've ever heard of a dog contracting it.


If I were handling sheep with numerous active lesions in the setout pen , I'd wash myself and my boots/clothing thoroughly before I handled any of my home flock.



Donald McCaig

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