Flockowners urged to quarantine sheep

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All bought-in sheep should be quarantined on farm for at least a month, before being allowed to mix with existing flock members, according to Professor Michael Doherty, from UCD’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

“This will give the purchaser an opportunity to assess what diseases, if any, the new arrivals are carrying,” he said.

Professor Doherty made these comments courtesy of his presentation to the Teagasc Annual Sheep Conference.

“Farmers may well have enough disease-related issues to cope within their existing flocks: so the last thing they need is to import additional problems.”

Doherty went on to point out that quarantine means strict isolation of the new arrivals from all other sheep already on-farm.

“Maintaining the highest levels of biosecurity is an absolute priority for the sheep sector,” he said.

“There is a host of diseases now impacting on the sheep sector, for which neither a cure or vaccination programme is available.

“What’s more, problems such as foot rot or scab may only be at the very early stages of development at time of purchase and, as a result, will not be visible to the naked eye.

“So, again, it makes sense to quarantine bought-in animals for a number of weeks.”