Vaccinations can help prevent common sheep diseases when used correctly. They have the potential to improve sheep health across the region for all farms, small and large. A key element in deciding which vaccines are useful on your farm is to find out the risk of particular diseases in the local district and the past history of your property.
Many vaccines require two doses for the vaccination to be effective followed up with annual boosters. Specific recommendations for effective vaccination can be found in the manufacturer’s instructions for each vaccine along with information about storage conditions and the length of time that the vaccine can be used after opening.
Correct injection technique and sterile, clean needles are required both to deliver an effective vaccination and to protect sheep and people from adverse side effects. Used syringes and needles need to be disposed of safely. For more information about injection techniques in Making More From Sheep: Sheep Husbandry Practices.
Vaccines can help prevent the following diseases of sheep in Australia. The information provided below is general in nature. It is strongly recommended that you consult your vet or animal health advisor before carrying out a vaccination program.
Commentary marked with * was provided by Alex Stephens, District Veterinarian, South East Local Land Services in July 2020.
Tetnus, Black Leg, Black Disease, Malignant Oedema and Pulpy Kidney (Clostridial diseases)
5-in-1 vaccination – typically given as a primer dose at lamb marking followed by a booster dose four to six weeks later and then an annual booster dose. Various brands available.
This vaccine is widely used throughout Australia and is usually the one being referred to when people say that their sheep are vaccinated.
* Booster vaccinations are recommended to be given more often, every three months in high risk situations, particularly to younger stock. Boosters are also recommended to be given at other high risk times such as grazing high risk pastures and crops and at the start of a flush of green grass after a long dry spell.
MLA Clostridial Diseases information
Agriculture Victoria Clostridial Diseases
6-in-1 vaccination – covers same diseases as 5-in1 as well as Cheesy Gland and has similar vaccination regime. Various brands available.
* Cheesy gland is an endemic disease in the Capital Region so Alex Stephens advised use of 6-in-1 rather than 5-in-1 for the initial vaccinations and annual booster. Use 5-in-1 if you are giving the extra boosters in high risk situations mentioned above to manage a higher clostridial risk.MLA Cheesy Gland information
NSW DPI Fact Sheet Cheesy Gland
Gudair vaccination – single dose lifetime vaccination given to lambs.
* The Capital Region is one of the highest endemic areas for Ovine Johne’s Disease. Alex Stephens advised that this vaccination is given to any sheep that are going to be kept to be greater than 2 years of age (ie. breeding stock or wethers).
MLA Australia Gudair information
DPI Johnes Disease Fact Sheet
Eryvac and Eryguard are brands of vaccine – primer and booster dose for lambs then annual vaccination.
* This vaccine is given in response to a diagnosis of this bacterial cause of arthritis on a property. This disease has been diagnosed and vaccinated against in the Capital Region. Where properties are getting higher rates of arthritis an investigation and diagnosis is advised.
Scabigard is a vaccine option – single dose given to lambs.
*Scabby Mouth is a common viral disease seen in the Capital Region. It is present in some flocks and not in others. It is only advisable to vaccinate against this disease as a disease control measure if it is present on your property, as vaccination (with the live vaccine) will introduce the disease to your property. It is a nasty disease and vaccination is an effective control measure.
DPI Scabby Mouth Fact Sheet
Barbers Pole Worm
BarberVax – a vaccine option where Barbers Pole worms are prevalent and resistant to drenches.
* Fortunately in the Capital Region we can still use strategic drenching with effective drenches to control Barbers Pole Worm. This is a very effective vaccine and should be considered where producers want or need to drench less or they have significant resistance issues. This vaccine has not had a high uptake in this area so you may need to order it in in advance and courier fees may apply.
WormBoss Barbers Pole Worm
Ovilis Campyvax – where abortions and still born lambs have been caused by Campylobacter infection. Initial primer and booster dose followed by annual booster given to ewes before joining.
* Campylobacter is a prevalent disease is the Capital Region. The vaccine is reasonably new. Uptake of this vaccine has been higher in recent years, reflecting higher sheep prices and research showing the disease to be quite prevalent in the area. Abortions are more likely to be seen when sheep are being held more closely together and eating from the ground, such as during drought feeding times. See the link for a local case study.
Campylobacter case study
Anthrax vaccine – annual vaccination which requires authorisation in NSW by Local Land Services.
Anthrax is a serious and usually fatal. It is a notifiable disease in NSW. It typically occurs in an area through the centre of NSW and into Victoria.
* The Capital Region is not within the Anthrax belt/zone and so vaccination against Anthrax would not be advised. Vaccination is usually done in response to control of an outbreak, which would most usually occur within the Anthrax zone
More information on anthrax
To contact your local District Veterinarian in NSW, visit NSW Local Land Service Contact us
This post was reviewed by Alex Stephens, the District Veterinarian from South East Local Land Services (SELLS). Alex works at the Yass SELLS office.