Watch out for pregnancy toxaemia this autumn | My Machinery
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Watch out for pregnancy toxaemia this autumn

With dry conditions in the lead up to autumn lambing, producers are being warned to watch out for pregnancy toxaemia or twin lambing disease in sheep.Dairy and beef cattle producers expecting to calve in coming months should also watch out for the disease, which has already been identified in some livestock across the state this season. DEPI Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Robert Suter said with limited pasture in many areas and cooler conditions expected to arrive soon, the risk was high for the condition. “Ewes are most at risk in late pregnancy when their lambs are doubling in size,” Dr Suter said. “Pregnancy toxaemia it is caused by ewes not getting enough dietary energy for the metabolic demands of pregnancy. Ewes might have been in good condition; but a sudden drop in nutrition results in these demands not being met. “Pregnancy toxaemia often happens in twin-bearing ewes and can follow a drop in nutrition such as pastures being eaten out and no supplement given. “Late pregnant ewes can tolerate low levels of energy if undisturbed but being placed under stress increases nutritional demand.” Dr Suter said other conditions which may lead to the disease include: · Previous history of pregnancy toxaemia. · Cold wet windy weather. · Extensive grazing situations where the last third of pregnancy coincides with a late break in the season followed by cold weather leading to little pasture growth. · Short periods without feed such as yarding. · Stress, due to climatic conditions, handling, being chased or management procedures. · Heavy worm infestation. The disease progresses over a few days until death. “Ewes first separate from the flock, and may appear blind; standing still when approached. In the later stages there is marked drowsiness andtremors and spasms of the head, face and neck with the head pulled back or sideways. “Ewes with pregnancy toxaemia will respond to treatment if this is given at earliest signs. Energy solutions such as molasses or glucose or propylene glycol can be given by drench.”

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