During spring, Royal GD receives many queries about abortion, premature births, stillborn and weak lambs in small ruminants.
Abortion is a regular occurrence at sheep and goat farms, as a result of both infectious and non-infectious causes. Zoonoses are commonly occurring infectious causes of abortion, which can also result in human illness. Although there is limited risk of illness in people, certain groups of the population run the greatest risk, including young children, the elderly, immunocompromised people and pregnant women.
The main pathogens of abortion are Listeria spp., Campylobacter spp., Chlamydia spp. and Toxoplasma gondii. In the case of abortion, relatively large volumes of these pathogens can be excreted in the immediate vicinity, thus increasing the risk of infection. It is also useful to be aware that many of the
pathogens are latently present in sheep and goats. Intensive contact with sheep and goats is therefore strongly unadvisable for anyone at increased risk, even outside the lambing season.
Each year, GD has contact with women who are or have been unaware of the risk of contact with lambing sheep or goats. There is little information regarding the number of women suffering a miscarriage due to infections caught via lambing sheep or goats. However, it is important that pregnant women avoid contact with small ruminants where possible, as a precaution, that they certainly do not assist in lambing sheep and goats and that they also avoid contact with potentially contaminated materials.
You can also read the article in the highlights report small ruminants of March 2023
In this report you can also find more information on:
- Submitting foetus and placenta important for diagnosis of abortion
- Copper intoxication in sheep
- Mastitis during mild winters
- Lameness following the use of Draxxin®
- Animal health barometer Small Ruminants
Highlights report small ruminants