Most of you will have heard that Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has been detected across the country this winter, causing deformed lambs, most commonly twisted spine and/or deformed joints, meaning the legs cannot be straightened).
The disease is caused by a virus and spread by biting midges (i.e. not directly from animal to animal). This means spread is most likely in summer months when flies are common.
SBV has caused lambing difficulties in early lambing flocks and we have seen several cases in this area. It can also affect cattle and it is important to bear in mind when calving cows this spring that a difficult calving may be a SBV case, which often requires a caesarean section to avoid serious damage to the cow.
Sadly, there is nothing we can do to protect cows due to calve this spring, and no vaccines are currently available to provide future protection – if and when vaccines become available we will let you know. Currently the VLA are offering free testing of deformed lambs or calves to help determine the presence of SBV across the country – if you suspect SBV
please let us know and we can arrange for sampling.