The disease in sheep is characterized by sudden deaths in feed lot lambs or sudden deaths in nursing lambs that may or may not be accompanied by a bloody stool. In feed lot lambs the disease is caused by clostridium perfringens type D. In nursing lambs type C. Confirmation of diagnosis is based on acute inflammation in areas of the intestines and petechial hemorrhage on thymus and heart. This disease in feed lot lambs is sometimes confused with acidosis, grain overload. They are two distinct entities.

With this disease, vaccination will achieve prevention and control of the disease. Old school thoughts are to vaccinate the ewe prior to lambing to protect the lamb through colostrum. Research has shown this procedure to be unnecessary. It has been shown that there is adequate immunity present when the ewes have been vaccinated as lambs. If the ewes have never been vaccinated then two injections three weeks apart are indicated.

Consequently we currently recommend mixing  1cc of aqueous penicillin and 1cc of CDT to give the lambs at processing followed by a full dose of CD at weaning and that is the life time vaccination program for that animal.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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