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Small Ruminant Parasite Management and FAMACHA Training

   OSU Extension, Wayne County and the Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association (OHSIA) are sponsoring a “Small Ruminant Parasite Management and FAMACHA Training” workshop on Saturday, May 21st, 2016 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.  The workshop will take place on the Leroy Kuhns farm located at 8085 CR 235 Fredericksburg OH  44627.  The workshop will focus on classroom training in the morning to help participants learn about small ruminant parasite biology, lifecycle, how chemical resistance is acquired and parasite management control strategies including the use of the FAMACHA system.  After lunch workshop participants will be trained in the use of the FAMACHA system including hands-on practice using sheep.

   The cost of the workshop is $25 for OHSIA members and $30 for non-members.  Registration cost included handout materials, lunch and a FAMACHA eyelid scorecard.  Registration cost for each additional person from the family or farm unit who attends is $15 for OHSIA members and $20 for non-members.  There is a workshop limit of 30 people. 
Pre- registration is required and the registration deadline is May 13.

   A workshop brochure and registration form is available on the Wayne County Extension at: http://go.osu.edu/agwayne . 
For more information contact the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 or send an email to: [email protected].

ASI Spring Legislative Trip to Washington D.C
Left to right: Brady Campbell, Katherine Wenner, Representative
Pat Tiberi, and OSIA Executive Director Roger A. High
Left to Right: Susan Shultz, Brady Campbell, Representative Bob Gibbs, Katherine Wenner, and OSIA Executive Director Roger A. High

2016 ASI Spring Legislative Trip
By: Roger A. High, OSIA Executive Director

   The time was mid- March, the buds were just starting out of the trees, and the ASI Spring Legislative Trip was being held to Washington D.C. In 2015, the time was moved from early May to mid-March by the American Sheep Industry (ASI) in hopes of being able to catch more legislators in their offices.

   Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) members Katherine Wenner (Delaware Co.), Brady Campbell (Washington Co.) and ASI Region 3 Director Susan Shultz (Logan Co.) joined OSIA Executive Director Roger A. High for another enlightening lobbying trip. Along with representatives from many other states, the Ohio delegation worked to promote the interests of the sheep industry through educating our government leaders about its industry issues.

   The ASI trip officially kicked off with a briefing meeting at hotel headquarters, followed the next day by a trip to the U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters. Several USDA agencies – including Farm Service Agency, APHIS – Veterinary Services, Wildlife Services, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Ag Service, and the National Forest Services. Each department within USDA sent representatives to brief the sheep industry on major issues which are impacting their department. Hearing the concerns of shepherds from other states provided Wenner, Campbell, and Shultz with more knowledge of the impact of federal policies on the sheep industry.

   Meetings were held with Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Rob Portman’s offices. Meetings were also held with representatives from the following congressional offices: Gibbs, Johnson, Wenstrup, Renacci, Tiberi, Stivers and Latta.

   Wenner, Campbell and Shultz tailored their message to show each member of Congress the sheep industry impact on their district – whether rural or urban. They spoke about the importance of support for services provided by USDA and the importance of OSU Extension and OARDC programs within the state. The Ohio delegation also thanked each of the congressional offices for any work they may have done to put together an acceptable farm bill beneficial to agriculture and the sheep industry.

   The three Ohio sheep producers stressed during the legislative meetings that now is a great time to be in the sheep industry due to the growing demand for lamb and goat meat from ethnic populations in the United States.

   There is a real opportunity for job creation as many Ohioans want to become involved in sheep or goat production. In order to recruit more people into small ruminant production to meet the growing demand, several key items are needed.

   Shepherds must be allowed to use available – and approved – means for predator control so lamb crops are not decimated by coyotes and black vultures. Federal regulations must be addressed to find a method of controlling the black vulture, which is protected under the 1918 Migratory Bird Act but no longer migrates away from the livestock-rich southern portions of Ohio.

   Finally, it is vital all shepherds work to ensure sheep production in the western United States is allowed to continue on federal lands, as the use of these western lands impacts the entire country. The sheep industry is such that if production diminishes there, the infrastructure for the entire industry will be affected.

   On Wednesday evening, ASI celebrated a successful lobbying trip with a lamb barbeque at the lobbying firm of Cornerstone Group Associates.

   High said, "OSIA was able to take two young progressive sheep industry leaders on this lobbying trip to show our legislators that there is a bright future to the sheep industry, and that they want to be involved.



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Educational Articles

Cache Valley Virus
Cache Valley virus is a virus that causes infertility, abortions and congenital abnormalities in sheep. Sheep producers during lambing season should be aware of the potential for Cache Valley virus, or CVV, to potentially affect their lambing crop. This year there has been an increase in the number of cases diagnosed and reported by sheep producers in Ohio.
The virus is spread by mosquitoes during early breeding season, generally August through September.  The virus is not spread from ewe to ewe only through mosquitos.  Abnormalities in lambs may include crooked joints, deformities of the skeleton, twisted necks or spines, weak muscles or an uncoordinated gait.  Most lambs born with severe defects are usually stillborn, yet CVV can cause the birth of lambs that act drowsy, weak, or unsteady and typically all lambs within a set of twins or triplets are affected.  
If the infection occurs at less than 28 days gestation, the embryos usually die and are reabsorbed. If it occurs between 28 and 45 days of gestation, the fetuses usually develop the “A_H syndrome” resulting in various congenital abnormalities affecting the central nervous system. Infections after 45 days of pregnancy usually produce no adverse effects. Ewes exposed to the virus that have developed immunity before the breeding season are protected from reinfection and fetal infections. 
Sheep producers suspecting CVV should contact their veterinarian in order to rule out other causes of birth defects, miscarriages or infertility. Diagnosis is sometimes difficult because the virus is usually gone by the time of the abortion or birth however it can be made in the laboratory by submitting blood, body fluids or brain tissue from the lamb or blood from the ewe.
The virus is found throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. There is no vaccine and there is no known treatment available. The most effective method of protecting ewes from the Cache Valley virus is to minimize their exposure to mosquito-infested areas during and shortly after the breeding season.


The Importance of Colostrum Management
Dr. Cassandra Plummer, DVM
Small Ruminant Veterinarian, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

As we find breeding season winding to a close it is time to start making preparations for lambing season to begin. When preparing for lambing, one thing to consider is your plan for colostrum management. How are you going to get colostrum into your lambs? What if a ewe doesn’t have colostrum? How will you handle orphan lambs or bottle lambs? All of these things need to be considered prior to the start of lambing. 

To start out with, what is colostrum? Colostrum is defined as the first milking after lambing and contains high levels of antibodies to provide a source of immunity to the lamb. All lambs are born without a functional immune system and it takes about 30 days for their immune system to become fully functional. During that time, they rely on the antibodies from their dam that they receive through colostrum to help protect them from infections. During the first 24 hours of life the lamb is able to absorb antibodies from the intestinal tract, however the absorption starts to decline after about 12 hours. After the initial 24 hours, the intestinal tract no longer allows absorption of antibodies. Without colostrum being consumed during the first 24 hours, the lamb will have very little immune function, and therefore will be highly susceptible to infections. As you can see, colostrum plays a vital role in the health of your newborn lambs.

Nature’s method for a lamb to get colostrum is to suckle the colostrum from their dam. There are several important things to think about here. Is the lamb able to suckle? Is it able to stand and find the teat? Is there colostrum in the udder? Do the teats work? Another thing to check is if there are plugs in the ends of the teats. In some ewes there are plugs that form in the ends of the teats to help prevent the colostrum from leaking out prior to lambing. Sometimes these plugs can be hard for the newborn lamb to remove via suckling. It is a good practice when you have a ewe that has just lambed, to check her udder, make sure there is colostrum in the udder and strip a couple drops out of each teat to make sure that there are no plugs present and that the teats are functional. Also, as we increase prolificacy and see a higher number of triplets and quads, we need to consider if the ewe has enough colostrum for all of her lambs. With a set of triplets or quads, you may need to consider pulling 1-2 lambs for bottle raising, as well as to ensure adequate colostrum intake for all the lambs. Not all ewes will be able to produce enough colostrum to supply 3 or 4 lambs.  Then the next step is going to be to observe the lamb for suckling and making sure that it is filling its belly. 

If you have determined that a lamb is unable or unwilling to suckle its dam, then you may need to intervene to ensure that that lamb gets adequate colostrum. First we need to consider where we are going to get the colostrum from. We have several possible sources to consider. The best source of colostrum is from the lamb’s ewe. If the issue is a weak lamb that is unable to suckle or stand, then consider milking the ewe out for some colostrum and feeding that to the lamb. If the ewe’s colostrum supply is the issue then we will need to consider a colostrum donor. When looking at a colostrum donor, your best donor will be older animals that have lambed previously because they will produce higher quality colostrum than nulliparous ewes. Another thing to consider is the health status of your donor. There are several diseases that can be spread through colostrum such as OPP, Johne’s, and mycoplasma. Therefore, if you know the health status of your ewes, it is important to select a colostrum donor that is negative for these diseases if possible. If you do not have access to ewe colostrum, then goat or cow colostrum are good alternatives. If you have a dairy down the road, they may be willing to give you some colostrum from their cows or goats. With cow or goat colostrum, you do still need to be concerned about disease transmission. Disease’s such as Johne’s disease can be transmitted to sheep through cow or goat colostrum. In regards to disease transmission, there are heat treatment protocols for colostrum that are practiced in some cow and goat dairies. Heat treatment of colostrum deceases the risk of disease transmission through colostrum and may be something to consider in valuable animals with any donor colostrum whether ewe, goat, or cow colostrum. 

Once you have colostrum, we need to consider colostrum storage if the colostrum is not going to be used immediately. Colostrum can be stored in a standard refrigerator if it is going to be used within 24 hours. If it is going to be over 24 hours before it is used, then it is recommended to store colostrum in the freezer. Prior to freezing, colostrum should be double-bagged in freezer bags and labeled with the donor’s ID, date of collection, and any disease status information that you have. Once frozen, colostrum can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year. When feeding colostrum to a newborn, it is recommended to warm the colostrum to body temperature. Therefore, stored colostrum will need to be warmed prior to feeding. The recommended method to thaw frozen colostrum and warm colostrum is to place the bags or bottles in lukewarm water. Do not heat colostrum in the microwave or use hot water. These methods will destroy all of the important antibodies in the colostrum.

Now that we have colostrum and have it warmed up, we need to consider how to get that colostrum into the lamb. The best method to get the colostrum into the lamb, aside from suckling from their dam, is via a bottle. The act of suckling increases the antibody absorption. There are several different lamb nipples available and each lamb has their preferences. We find that that the Prichard nipples are the nipples they are most likely to suckle, but if the lamb won’t suckle from a Prichard nipple it is worth trying another style nipple. Ideally we want to get 10% body weight of colostrum into a lamb in the first 12-24 hours. Therefore for a 10 pound lamb, we would want to get approximately 16 fl. oz. of colostrum into them in the first 12-24 hours. Of course this needs to be spread out over several feedings.  While the bottle is best, if a lamb has not taken any colostrum within 2-3 hours of birth, we recommend tubing them with several ounces of colostrum and trying the bottle again at the next feeding.

As you can see, colostrum management is an important factor in the overall health of your lambs. Research has shown that failure of passive transfer from lack of colostrum intake has long-term effects. Research in cows and sheep has shown decreased average daily gains and increased mortality in feedlots associated with failure of passive transfer. Ensuring adequate colostrum intake in your lambs will increase the overall health of your lambs and the added work will pay off with lots of healthy lambs.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Dec. 2008 Lamb & Wool newsletter.  Due to the importance of colostrum and the completeness of the article it is worthy of re-printing.

Protect Sheep and Goats with CDT Vaccine
By Peggy Coffeen, Dairy/Livestock Editor

Failing to arm sheep and goats disease protection is a bit like heading into a tackle football game with no helmets or pads. Less protection means greater risk. Vaccines are an important component in suiting up small ruminants to hit the field – or pasture. At minimum, sheep and goats of all ages and stages should be protected from clostridial diseases.

Eric Gordon, DVM, Ohio State University, believes that clostridial diseases are the only group that all sheep and goats should be vaccinated against. He recommends using a three-way vaccine generically referred to as CDT, which protects against Clostridium perfringens type C and D and Clostridium tetani (tetanus). Eight-way vaccines are also on the market, but the three-way CDT is the core vaccine for sheep and goats.


The CDT vaccine is both inexpensive and very effective at preventing the quick and fatal consequences that can result from a clostridial infection. “The key here is vaccination and prevention rather than treatment because usually we are too late to treat it,” Gordon says.

Types C and D are the culprits of enterotoxemia. Type C is found around the farm in manure and soil. A young animal may ingest this strain while nursing a doe or ewe with a dirty or contaminated udder. Once inside the body, the bacteria grow rapidly and produce a toxin that results in rapid death.

Type D is the clostridial strain tied to overeating disease. While certain levels exist in the stomach, bacteria can proliferate in the small intestine when fast-growing lambs or kids ingest large amounts of feed, grain specifically. These toxins then enter the bloodstream, and the animal responds with body convulsions, jerky movements, salivation and coma. Death can occur in as little as 30 to 90 minutes.

When it comes to tetanus, wounds and lacerations are a conduit for the deadly bacteria to infect the body with deadly toxins. While puncture wounds incurred from in and around facilities are one way tetanus can infect the animal, surgical procedures like castration, docking and dehorning can also present a risk.

Based on his observations, Gordon believes that the method of castration matters when it comes to tetanus. He has seen a higher incidence of tetanus among animals that have been banded compared to those that were surgically cut. This is because the bacteria thrive in an anaerobic environment, which is created by the dead tissue that forms below the band. However, the infection risk from banding is reduced when animals are protected by a vaccine.


From babies to mommas and bucks, protecting against these swift and deadly clostridial infections is a wise choice. At a cost of roughly 30 cents per dose, it is a “pretty cheap and pretty effective” way in assure the health of your animals, Gordon notes. Following the vaccine protocol for kids and lambs and providing an annual booster through adulthood will provide optimal protection.

When ewes and does are vaccinated properly, they are able to pass on temporary protection to their vulnerable babies through colostrum. Gordon recommends that ewes and does be vaccinated in the last month of pregnancy. For first-time moms, he suggests giving two shots – one six weeks prior to lambing or kidding, followed by another three weeks prior. This puts the maximum amount of antibody in colostrum for the lamb or kid.

When the immunization status of the mother is unknown or uncertain, the best bet for disease prevention is to vaccinate the baby at one to three weeks of age, followed by two booster shots, each given at four week intervals.

For properly vaccinated babies, he recommends administering the CDT vaccine at about eight to 12 weeks of age. If the ewe or doe was properly vaccinated, her colostrum will provide good protection up to that point. The timing should also be a week or two prior to castrating or docking.

And don’t forget about the boys. Gordon suggests hitting rams and bucks with a CDT vaccine about a month before going into the breeding pens. “That’s when most likely to get injured, and injury can lead to clostridial infection,” he notes.


“Vaccines shouldn’t be a Band-Aid for poor management,” adds Gordon. There are other ways to improve immune function other than vaccinations, and they are just as important. Reducing animal stress and providing good nutrition, clean bedding and housing, ventilation and an ample water source are basic things that do wonders for animal health. Practicing good hygiene by keeping animals clean and dry will also help prevent the spread of clostridial diseases.

“If we do [these things], it’s amazing what the animal can fight off on its own,” he states. “Coupled along with the vaccination program, that is the answer.”

Reprinted with permission www.agriview.com

Ohio Sheep Improvement Association
280 N. High St., P.O. Box 182383 - Columbus, Ohio 43218 - Roger A. High: 614-246-8299
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