Welsh farmers have been warned that an increased number of malformed lambs and calves may be born next spring as a result of Schmallenberg virus (SBV).

Welsh farmers have been warned that an increased number of malformed lambs and calves may be born next spring as a result of Schmallenberg virus (SBV).

lambThe chief veterinary officer for Wales Christianne Glossop has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of SBV, which was first detected in Wales in September 2012.

Dr Glossop said: “We now have evidence of SBV infection across most, if not all, counties in Wales, and we have also recently detected our first clinical case of SBV in a deformed lamb.

“These developments mean it is likely that malformed lambs and calves will be born in Wales in spring 2013 as a result of some Welsh sheep and cattle being infected with SBV around the time of mating this year.
 
“Malformation in newborns can, of course, increase birth complications, and increase the need for veterinary assistance. There can also be serious welfare implications.

“As we approach the lambing season for many, I would, therefore, encourage farmers and livestock holders to be vigilant for signs of the disease and to seek swift veterinary assistance if they have any concerns.”

The Welsh Government has published guidance for farmers and vets on possible mitigation measures against SBV at http://wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/ahw/disease/schmallenbergvirus/?lang=en

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) also regularly updates its website with useful information about SBV for farmers.

SBV testing is available commercially and through AHVLA to help farmers work with their vets to understand the status of their own herds of flocks. Work is also continuing to  develop a vaccine for SBV and a submission for a provisional licence has been made to the VMD.

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