A Welsh flock and herd health project has supported training for vets to reduce the transmission of disease that can affect sheep’s lungs and impacting on production.
Leading independent vet specialist, Dr Phil Scott led two practical courses for vets held last week which focussed on scanning ewes for Ovine Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma (OPA) through ultrasonic diagnosis held at the Wales Veterinary Science Centre (WVSC) in Aberystwyth.
The Stoc+ Project is working with farmers and vets in Wales to promote proactive flock and herd health management, to help Wales lead the world in animal welfare, sustainability and efficiency.
The project, led by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), is one strand of the Red Meat Development Programme – a 5-year Welsh Government and European Union-funded initiative.
Infectious and fatal
OPA is an infectious and fatal disease caused by a virus which affects the lungs and can be transmitted between ewes through nose-to-nose contact. Diagnosis can only be made on a post mortem examination; however regular ultra sound scanning has proved useful in detecting affected sheep.
In order to achieve full elimination from the flock, it is highly advised that flocks are routinely scanned, vets will be able to use their new and updated ultrasound diagnostic skills in local flocks as part of an OPA control programme.
Dr Phil Scott said, “I was delighted with the progress of the courses and the enthusiasm and expertise of delegates from HCC, WVSC and local veterinary practices and I look forward to continuing this collaboration.”
Iwan Lewis, a vet at Ystwyth Vets, who attended the refresher course said, “OPA is something I’ve seen in a few flocks over the past few years but it has become more prevalent in this past year. OPA’s production limiting factor is the reason why it’s important to look into it and why it has been beneficial for me to take part in this refresher course with Dr Phil Scott. Hopefully now I can encourage more farmers to think about scanning for OPA.”
Leisia Tudor, HCC Flock and Herd Health Officer added, “It was great to see so many keen vets attend the training and we appreciate Dr Scott’s time. Hopefully this training will help further develop awareness of OPA in flocks throughout Wales and also assist with the Stoc+ project as OPA scanning can be carried out by vets as part of the project.”
HCC’s Stoc+ is one of three 5-year projects in the Red Meat Development Programme which is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.