Lambing range “a literal lifesaver and an absolute must”
8th February 2024
Watery mouth is one of the biggest killers of newborn lambs, and since the primary treatment was delisted, there is a need to find alternative methods. Dr Tom Barragry, vet, veterinary pharmacologist and advisor to Provita Animal Health offers advice and outlines a range of products described by one farmer as a must-have in the lambing shed.
Lamb mortality and neonatal deaths remain very high in the global sheep industry and keeping newborn lambs alive is no easy task. The principal causes of early lamb deaths are hypothermia, starvation, and watery mouth.
Watery mouth is an E. coli infection and with 45% of early lamb mortality caused by E. coli scours, watery mouth is one of the biggest killers in newborn lambs. This is primarily due to their almost non-existent immunity at birth. There is a direct and absolute correlation between low immunity and watery mouth. Hence an effective, new approach to promote neonatal gut health, better immunity, and prevention of E. coli infection may significantly reduce these high mortality figures for all newborn lambs.
Limited usefulness of antibiotics
In previous years, the use of oral Spectam Scour Halt (spectinomycin antibiotic) has been the primary method of treatment and prevention. Spectam has, however, now been delisted from the UK and Irish market on account of international policy on antibiotic resistance, therefore alternative methods of control must be adopted. Prevention of watery mouth is much more effective than cure, and this preventative approach must be based on the principle of rapidly boosting the lamb’s immune system at birth.
Using antimicrobial compounds such as oral antibiotics and antiseptics in neonatal lambs does nothing to enhance active immunity in the gut. Apart from the risks of AMR, most chemical chemotherapeutic agents when given orally are not achieving a targeted approach against E coli.
Such orally administered chemicals will affect a significant proportion of the entire flora of the gut insofar as they are acting indiscriminately on all gut organisms, be they pathogens (E. coli) or commensals (good bugs). Such orally administered chemical agents may well kill or limit E. coli, but unless the gut-based immunity is enhanced, the young animal still remains quite vulnerable. Prevention is thus better than cure.
Prevention and heavier lambs
Provita Lamb Response can not only help in the prevention of watery mouth, but it has the added benefit of helping to produce heavier lambs at weaning.
Lamb Response contains a combination of four highly effective and unique ingredients, not present in other commercial products, which directly combat E. coli, and enhance the much-needed immunity status of the newborn lamb.
- Beneficial bacteria: Lamb Response contains beneficial bacteria which naturally lessens E. coli bacteria, enhances immunity, and ‘seals’ the newborn gut. This ultra-fast replicating beneficial bacteria will seed the gut expanding the young lamb’s gut microbiome, which is the basis of the overall immunity. In addition, tight junctions in the gut will be sealed, crowding out and neutralising E. coli pathogens and preventing their establishment within the lamb.
- Egg powder proteins: Lamb Response contains egg powder proteins which provide high concentrations of unique IgY proteins which are more potent against E. coli than usual colostral antibodies. These IgY antibodies have a higher binding affinity for E. coli antigens than do conventional colostral antibodies. Thus, the combination of beneficial bacteria plus IGY proteins provides a really powerful immediate protection against E. coli, which has been established in scientific literature.
- Vitamins: Lamb Response contains high levels of vitamins necessary for the young animal’s metabolism and supplies especially vitamin E, which stimulates the lymphocytes in the underdeveloped immune system, thus adding a further layer of protection.
- High energy: Lastly, Lamb Response supplies high energy to stimulate appetite, help prevent hypothermia (a very common fatality factor in young lambs) and to stimulate blood flow through vital organs.
Provita Lamb Colostrum is natural EU-sourced colostrum and can be used to supplement or substitute maternal colostrum. It is easy mixed with a rich consistency. The formulation is highly supplemented with:
- Provita’s unique blend of protective egg powder to help increase broader spectrum immunity
- Beneficial bacteria to seed and protect the gut which helps to ward off disease causing bacteria and stimulate immunity
- High-grade readily available energy to help prevent hyperthermia and hypoglycaemia
- Vitamins that help the newborn to counteract common deficiencies and benefit cell metabolism and vigour.
Thus, in terms of aiding immunity protection, it helps provide three-pronged cover: healthy microbiome, improved passive immunity and passive transfer of immunity.
“Literal lifesaver and absolute must”
Longridge Farm is having great success with Provita Lamb Response. The third generation livestock farm is based in Gloucestershire, England and has 120 breeding ewes, 45 dexter suckler herd, goats (meat), pigs and turkeys.
Lambing is currently in full swing, and Lamb Response is given to newborn lambs to boost them and help combat watery mouth. The product has exceeded their expectations – it has significantly reduced the symptoms of watery mouth cases seen with the absence of Spectam.
“It has been a literal life saver and is an absolute must in the lambing shed!”, they said.
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