5 May 2010

Vet alarmed at outbreak of sheep salmonella

3:33 pm on 5 May 2010

A Southland vet is pleading with farmers in the region to report suspected salmonella Hindmarsh sheep deaths after a fresh outbreak of the disease.

Kim Kelly, of VetSouth in Winton, says there are reported cases of the disease, which kills ewes, on at least a dozen farms.

But she believes it is more widespread than that, as she says some farmers aren't reporting it. She reckons at least 100 ewes may have already died from this year's outbreak.

Salmonella Hindmarsh attacks sheep intestines, causing a painful death. It broke out in Southland last autumn for the first time in 10 years, killing hundreds of sheep.

Hindmarsh is different to the salmonella Brandenburg strain that causes the abortion of lambs, as well as killing ewes.

Ms Kelly says the outbreak could be due to the fact that vaccination levels for the disease are at their lowest in years and warns salmonella Hindmarsh is contagious to humans.