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Australia calls on sheep farmers to test rams for ovine brucellosis

Thursday, August 29th 2013 - 02:13 UTC
Full article 12 comments
“There is no effective treatment for brucellosis and all producers are at risk” “There is no effective treatment for brucellosis and all producers are at risk”

Australia Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) are encouraging all sheep producers to test their rams for ovine brucellosis, following recent positive tests that the disease might be spreading throughout the country.

Ovine brucellosis is a venereal disease caused by the bacteria Brucella ovis. It causes lumps and scars in the ram’s testicle which can block the flow of sperm. 

According to Senior District Vet Dan Salmon, many producers are unaware of the disease and the problems it can cause - reduced fertility or infertility, lower lambing percentages, longer joining and lambing intervals and consequent economic losses. 

“In the late 1990s, testing of all rams in the former Riverina RLPB district (Moulamein and Deniliquin) revealed that ovine brucellosis was present in one third of ram flocks,” he said. 

“There is no effective treatment for brucellosis and all producers are at risk. Infected rams spread the disease during joining through the ewe or off-season through sodomy. 

“Prevention is the key with this disease. Producers should only buy rams from an Ovine Brucellosis Accredited Stud and also regularly check rams.” 

Producers can easily check their own rams by feeling for abnormal lumps in the rams’ testicles. 

“This should be done twice a year, well in advance of joining and recently after the last joining. This will allow enough time for re-tests if they are needed,” Dr Salmon
“Any lumps or bumps should be further investigated - this involves contacting your vet who will organise blood testing. Your vet will also discuss the options available.
“If you are unsure about the rams you have purchased, keep them separate from your home rams until you have them blood tested. 

Producers are also remembered that “rams often move freely across or through boundary fences, potentially picking up diseases and bringing them back to your property.”

Producers wishing to establish a group to combat ovine brucellosis should contact their local LHPA for assistance.  Further information on ovine brucellosis, including the list of ovine brucellosis accredited flocks, is available at southern-weekly

In related news a brucellosis outbreak has been confirmed in wild boar by Central Veterinary Institute testing in Lelystad, Netherlands.

Two positive bacteriological examinations found the Brucella Suis agent in two wild boars in a migrating herd of 30 in the Limburg area, in the south of the country.

The locality where the boars were found was Vaals en Margraten in the frontier wildlife zone between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. (Source:

Top Comments

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  • Briton

    no comment from the sunshine man..

    Aug 29th, 2013 - 03:26 pm 0
  • aussie sunshine

    ha ha ha ha ha!! I didn´t comment as this is old news!! sheep have had these deseases since they were introduced in Australia!! old news..

    Aug 30th, 2013 - 07:25 pm 0
  • Anglotino

    ha ha ha ha ha! I told you you don't speak like a native English speaker Aussie_sunshine. And I can tell you here because hardly anyone will look at this thread. You aren't as rabid as some on here but for some unknown reason you pretend to be an Aussie. Now perhaps you are an Aussie because I will accept that you have lived in Melbourne. But you write English in the same manner that my Colombian flatmate does. You make all the same mistakes that a native Spanish speaker who has learnt English makes.

    For some reason you think we are lying when we say this.

    “sheep have had these deseases since they were introduced in Australia!”
    “Sheep have had THIS DISEASE since they were introduced TO Australia”

    Your keyboard is also not set to English because you keep using an accent (tilde) for your apostrophes. “didn´t” versus 'didn't'

    For some reason you are too ashamed to admit your nationality or location and that is fine by me because you obviously thing being an Aussie than anything else.

    As I am an Aussie I take that as a compliment.

    Considering how much you get riled up about Gibraltar, it isn't that difficult to guess you are Spanish and/or live in Spain.

    Aug 31st, 2013 - 12:43 am 0
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