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Post by Sonshine Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:39 pm

I got this from Homesteading Today and wanted to give a heads up to those who may not belong to that forum.

Lamb born with five legs and no head - horror virus rattles farming community

Published on Friday 9 March 2012 11:29

A LAMB born with five legs and no head is a gruesome symbol of the horror virus outbreak which has alarmed the hard-working farming community here in East Sussex.

The unpredictable Schmallenberg virus (SBV), named after the German town where it allegedly originated, has created a tough environment for sheep and cattle farmers across Britain, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Abortions, stillbirths and birth defects have affected sheep and cattle caused by the virus said to have blown over the English Channel via infected midges. There is no known vaccine. Adult cattle can also suffer from fever, diarrhoea and a decline in milk yields.
NFU animal health and welfare adviser Catherine McLaughlin urged farmers to check animals and report problems.
She said: “The full impact of the problem will not be known for some time as it only becomes apparent once livestock are born.”
Sheep farmer Mark Littmoden, of Courthouse Farm near Offham, was lying on a sofa, exhausted and feeling ‘despair’ at the traumatic effect of the virus on his flock - when he spoke to the Sussex Express.

Lambing season which has just begun is always a busy time. But the small livestock farmer was shocked at the random virus causing the birth of deformed lambs and gruesome carcasses. Six ewes had been lost with nine abnormal lambs from the 130-strong flock to date.
Mr Littmoden found most of the deformed lambs dead, blocking access to healthier lambs behind, when birthing ewes.
“It’s all part of the virus”, Mr Littmoden said. “With some of them I had to shoot the ewes, I can’t afford caesarian operations. So I have been shooting ewes as its kinder.”
The worst birth was the lamb with five legs and no head - with ‘something rotten behind’.

“I had to shoot the ewe”, he said.
The horror birth spree on his farm has seen triplet lambs born which ‘didn’t look right’. Others had deformed heads, jaws, and legs fused together as though glue was poured over them. Ewes were also getting fever. Normal fahrenheit readings are 35.2 but he was measuring 40 degrees in some of the flock.

He has found lambs born which look healthy but are an abnormal small size. Bottle feeding 18 orphaned lambs four times per day, for one-and-a-half hours, was taking up the farmer’s time. One bottle fed lamb had half a tongue.
“I had to dispatch that one.”
Mr Littmoden believed a crisis had loomed on the horizon for the farming community.

Many have not recovered financially from the foot-and-mouth and bluetongue crises, when they had to get loans or ‘sold the family silver’, he said.



Schmallenberg virus distribution in Germany as of January 27, 2012

Schmallenberg Virus is a new emerging disease of livestock. It was named after the German town where it was first noticed. So far the virus has been detected in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. As it is new, there isn't much know yet but it is in the Simbu serogroup of the Orthobunyavirus group in Bunyaviridae family.
It seems to be similar to e.g. Akabane and Shamonda viruses. These are vector transmitted, such as by midges, mosquitoes and ticks. At this point it is unclear whether there is a potential for direct contact transmission.
The virus is not thought to be zoonotic but investigations are being made to confirm this.

The disease has so far been identified in cattle, sheep and goats in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and UK.
Clinical Signs

Adult cattle tend to show mild to moderate disease of short duration. Milk drop, diarrhoea and pyrexia may be noticed. Sheep do not seem to show similar signs.
There may be abortion in the later stages of pregnancy or defects in newborn calves, lambs or kids. These defects could be exhibited as brain, limb or spinal cord malformations or nervous system damage such as ataxia, blindness, inability to nurse or stand and occasional convulsions.

In the UK, Schmallenberg virus is not a notifiable disease, however, farmers and encouraged to contact their veterinarians in cases of stillbirths or fetal malformations or nervous system signs. Veterinarians in turn should contact their AHVLA/SAC laboratory if they suspect Schmallenberg virus infection.
Histopathological and virological examinations are available and will be used but PCR on tissues is needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Blood test for the virus are under development.
Treatment and Control

Currently there are no treatments or vaccines available. Control measures for this disease are under investigation

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Post by backtotheland Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:41 am

Oh brother, I wonder if it will get over here. I won't be having babies this year but I will be next year. One birth like the one mentioned above would be enough for me.


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Post by Sonshine Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:38 am

Yeah, looks like some pretty nasty stuff.

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Post by Guest Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:42 pm

That is scary stuff.


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Post by 12acrehome Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:44 am

that would put us out of the cattle business

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