Generic Abortion Prevention Program: Sheep and Goats
(Lichtenwalner, AB; adapted from Sheep and Goat Medicine, Pugh D.G. ed.; Saunders 2002)
1. Management methods to avoid pregnancy loss:
- Set up a biosecurity program to quarantine all new animals for as long as 30 days before introduction to the farm.
- Keep first lambing and purchased ewes in separate areas from the rest of the flock.
- Keep postpartum and prepartum females in separate pastures.
- Maintain flock in a stress-free, sanitary, uncrowded environment.
- Manage nutritional schemes to maintain good body condition scores.
- Offer a complete, good-quality trace mineral-salt mixture free choice.
- Maintain a source of supplemental energy and protein for use during emergency or high stress situations.
- Keep feed and water sources free of fecal-urine contamination.
- If possible, never feed on the ground. If not, feed on fresh ground free of manure.
- Avoid exposure to cows or hogs.
- Reduce numbers of rats, wild or free-range birds, and cats.
- If cats are used to control rodents and birds, keep only spayed adult cats.
2. Utilizing veterinary help to avoid pregnancy loss:
- Where Chlamydia and Campylobacter(or other diseases causing abortion) are known to occur, keep breeding animals vaccinated
- vaccinate at 4 and 2 months prepartum if not previously vaccinated
- only one vaccination is required if there is a history of vaccination
- Consider the use of a feed additive for control of coccidia and other possible pathogens during gestation. This should be done under a veterinarian’s guidance. These can be included in a grain supplement or mineral mixture.
- Respond aggressively to any abortions in a flock
- Diagnose the cause: submit chilled fetal samples (including placenta) to a diagnostic laboratory promptly.
- Control spread: dispose of aborted tissue, separate aborting females from others, treat remaining animals under veterinary guidance