Protect Your Ewes From Vibrionic Abortions

Nov 09, 2020

Tara Jo Bina
Countryside Feed Livestock Nutrition

Vibrionic abortion is one of the top 4 abortion causing diseases in sheep. When this disease is introduced to a flock, 20% of ewes will commonly abort, but outbreaks have been reported to cause 80 – 90% to abort in severe cases! So, what is this disease and what do you need to know about it?

What is vibrio?
Vibrio is an abortion causing infection with various species of Campylobacter. This disease spreads when sheep eat something that is contaminated with the bacteria which can be found in membranes, uterine fluids, and aborted fetuses.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms will present themselves differently depending on the stage of pregnancy ewes are infected. Early pregnancy exposure results in reabsorption of the fetus and ewes coming up open. Mid pregnancy infections cause abortions about 10 – 20 days after the initial infection. Late pregnancy presents as stillbirths and weak lambs.

Are there treatments for vibrio?
With a VFD, infected ewes can be treated with chlortetracycline (CTC) daily to prevent abortions. However, several strains have shown resistance to this antibiotic.
Other good steps to prevent the impact of an outbreak include: sanitizing all feeding and watering equipment, checking feed and water for contamination, isolating infected ewes, vaccinating pregnant ewes, cleaning bedding regularly (especially after an abortion), and avoiding feeding sheep on the ground.

How do you prevent vibrio?
There is an effective vaccine for vibrio. Consult with your veterinarian to be sure the strains of Campylobacter common in your area are included in the vaccine. Typically, it is recommended to vaccinate for vibrio 30 days before breeding and a booster administered 60 to 90 days later.

Can humans get vibrio?
Vibrio is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can spread from animals to humans. In humans, Campylobacter sp. causes enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine), leading to abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
To learn more about treating vibrio in sheep consult your veterinarian then contact your Countryside Feed representative.

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