Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sheep Vaccine Covexin 8 - Video

Here is a video we took yesterday at Karras Farm administering the Covexin 8 vaccine to our dairy sheep.

For the purpose of the video we used a syringe to administer the vaccine. Most smaller dairy sheep operations would provide the medicine in this fashion. With larger flocks we recommend investing in a vaccine gun which greatly reduces the time needed for the vaccination process.

Thank you for stayin tuned to Karras Farm and have a fantastic 2013!!


Andy Karras
Karras Farm Inc.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Assaf Sheep

The Assaf Sheep
In 1995 researchers of the Israel Agriculture research Organization (ARO) developed the Assaf sheep. The Assaf is a dual purpose breed, raised for milk production and meat.
The original concept of the Assaf sheep was to improve the prolificacy of the Awassi fat tail sheep without losing many of the desirable Awassi traits. The result was an animal which consisted of 5/8ths  Awassi and 3/8th East Friesian. From there the breed was selected for the most beneficial traits and the new breed was created.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year~
Andy Karras
Karras Farm Inc.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Foot Rot - Contagious Foot Rot In Sheep - Awassi Sheep

Contagious Foot Rot

Contagious Foot Rot is a chronic, discouraging and painful disease that has a severe side effect on sheep.
Foot rot is caused by the combined action of two bacteria, one of which is common in all sheep feces and another that must be introduced by an infected sheep. The combined action of the bacteria affects the horny portion of the hoof, undermining the sole specifically and causing it to separate from the connecting tissue sand hoof wall. Severe lameness and pain occurs; sheep often crawl about on their front knees to take weight off the affected limbs. The putrid odor from the infected hooves attracts blowflies resulting in outbreak of fly maggots on the feet, chest and under wool contaminated by discharge of the feet. This is very contagious. The infectious bacteria spread easily from infected feet to soil in moist environments, and then back to the feet of other sheep where it soon undermines a great portion of the flock. Outbreaks with 15-30% of animals infected are not uncommon. The bacteria does not survive long in dry soil or in manure (approximately two weeks), but they may persist for several weeks when walled off in the hoof of an apparently recovered sheep. This makes the carrier sheep a walking time bomb that can go off during any rainy period continuing the cycle.
Walk affected sheep through foot baths of water and zinc sulfate to help control the bacteria. When bacteria appear inspect every hoof of every sheep and separate those with no foot rot or lesions. Run them through a clean foot bath of 10% zinc sulfate and place them on an area where there have been no sheep with foot rot for several weeks or preferably months. Check the sheep every other day and remover any lame sheep.
Those animals with foot rot should be culled from the flock ASAP if economically possible. If culling is not possible, trim all of their feet and treat them by zinc footbath each week for three weeks. Re-check all feet; remove any sheep that haven’t recovered. Keep infected sheep separate from the clean flock for another six to twelve weeks, checking weekly and removing any that relapse. When this group has remained free of foot rot for six to twelve weeks, you may integrate them with members of the clean flock.
Be sure to not bring in any animals with foot rot to your flock. All new sheep should be isolated from resident sheep for at least 30 days with a foot examination at the beginning and end of that period. Any animal with foot rot or foot rot symptoms should not enter the flock. A vaccine is available and should be considered for use in flocks that cannot eliminate foot rot. The vaccine cannot eliminate foot rot but it can clear it up.
Foot Rot Remedy
Mix this footbath and follow the direction for soaking the foot rot affected hooves.
Ingredients: 50lbs of zinc sulfate with 36% zinc and water.Create a 10% solution which equals 8lbs of zinc sulfate and 10 gallons of water. Pour the solution between two buckets for three to five minutes; then place into a trough structure to be used as a footbath. Place a clear water footbath in front of the zinc footbath to aid in cleaning the feet prior to entering the medicated bath.

Be a good Sheppard and tend to your sheep.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blue Tonge - Awassi Sheep - Assaf Sheep

Blue Tongue is a viral disease spread primarily by Culicoides Gnat, which only inhibits areas South of the 45 latitude and below 7,000 feet in elevation. There are a number of different viral strains worldwide, but only five of them occur in the US.

After the Gnat injects the Blue Tongue virus into the sheep by biting through the skin and feeding on its blood, the virus rapidly replicates and signs of illness may appear in three to nine days. High fever (106-108 degrees), ear or face swelling and peeling of the Epithelial mouth lining are all effect of Blue Tongue. The tongue may even swell so large that it becomes "Blue" and protrude from the mouth. This causes severe pain and affected animals will usually not eat available feed. The sheep feet may also become inflamed resulting in laziness which can cause fetal defects of unborn lambs during pregnancy.

Blue Tongue does not spread from one sheep to another, but there can be a flock outbreak due to the presence of the virus in the gnats which inhibit the area. An outbreak usually doesn't occur until July and ends shortly after the first frost. In areas further South that don't have frost, the virus is endemic and infects all sheep at an early age. These sheep develop immunity and seldom show signs of illness.

A vaccine is available for one strain of Blue Tongue but it does not cross protect well against other strains. California has made vaccines available for other strains which can only be used by producers in that state.

Housing Sheep at night and applying pesticides to their head will reduce exposure but not eliminate the threat of gnats.

Make it a great day!

Andy Karras
Karras Farm Inc.
Awassi Sheep