Eperythrozoonosis (E. ovis) in sheep

Page last updated: Monday, 25 November 2019 - 11:04am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Can I treat sheep affected with eperythrozoonosis?

Tetracyclines have been used to control the disease in the past, however, they are not recommended in a flock management situation. Those animals that recover naturally will develop immunity and be resistant to re-infections. The best management plan is not to move them during an outbreak (for a period of 4–6 weeks) and to make good nutrition and water available. Animals will usually have recovered from the disease after this interval.

Vaccines have not proven successful.

How can I reduce the risk of eperythrozoonosis in my flock?

  • Ensure good hygiene during marking, mulesing or shearing. Keep marking and mulesing instruments clean to avoid the transfer of infected red blood cells between animals.
  • Control biting insects such as flies and mosquitoes.
  • Develop management programs which eliminate the need to yard stock within six weeks of marking/mulesing or shearing. This involves careful consideration of when you time marking/mulesing, shearing and parasite control programs. Careful paddock feed planning is also important to eliminate the need to move lambs within six weeks of marking/mulesing.
  • Pay careful attention to nutrition, worm control and trace element supplementation (if required) to limit the severity of the disease.

Call a veterinarian when unusual signs of disease or deaths occur in stock

Always ask your veterinarian to investigate whenever sudden death, high death rates or unusual signs occur in your livestock.

The Subsidised Disease Investigation Pilot Program (Royalties for Regions) provides subsidised veterinary investigations (subject to approval by the local DPIRD Veterinary Officer) for livestock diseases with high stock losses or which have similar disease signs to an exotic or reportable disease.

If you see unusual disease signs in your stock, call your private veterinarian, a DPIRD veterinarian, or the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888. Contact details for your closest DPIRD veterinarian are on the Livestock Biosecurity contacts webpage.