|Virbac has been granted a Limited Marketing Authorisation in the UK for its Gudair® vaccine, indicated for the active immunisation of sheep and goats against Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map). Map is the causal organism for Johne’s Disease, a chronic infection of the intestinal system for which there is no cure.
Johne’s Disease enters most flocks following the introduction of infected stock, often breeding rams, bought at markets without checks on disease provenance. It is then spread by the faeces of often apparently healthy animals but which can contain huge numbers of Map. The main clinical sign is a thin ewe resulting in poor productivity followed by inevitable death. It can be passed between sheep and cattle.
Johne’s Disease (OJD) in sheep is widespread in Australia where annual death rates of up to 17% have been seen in infected flocks. Trials conducted there have demonstrated that vaccination with Gudair can reduce the number of deaths due to OJD by 90% and reduce the numbers of OJD-causing organisms excreted in sheep faeces by 90%.
The number of infected flocks in the UK is unknown and the disease often remains undiagnosed, according to Mr Ken Sibley MRCVS and Technical Advisor at Virbac Ltd.
“Johne’s Disease can be a significant cause of loss in infected sheep flocks because of reduced productivity and high culling rates. Vaccination provides the only possible assurance when sourcing sheep from potentially infected flocks and will help to reduce losses from the disease should a farmer inadvertently introduce sheep into an infected flock.
Mr Sibley continues: “Lambs identified as replacements should generally be vaccinated between 4 and 16 weeks of age, subcutaneously behind the ear. Sheep over 16 weeks of age can also be vaccinated as this will reduce shedding of organisms in infected animals while bought-in replacements can be vaccinated on arrival at the farm. Sheep require only one vaccination for their lifetime.
Following its success in Australia, we are delighted to be able to offer Gudair to veterinary surgeons in the UK.”
For further information vets are advised to contact their territory manager or call Virbac on 01359 243243.