WA Livestock Disease Outlook - for producers

Respiratory signs and sudden death in lambs

  • Respiratory signs and sudden death were seen in six-month-old lambs in the Great Southern.
  • In total, 20 lambs died from a mob of 2000.
  • The sheep had been fed ad lib for 60 days and were adequately vaccinated for pulpy kidney.
  • A post-mortem on one animal showed a severe, chronic pneumonia.
  • As some of the disease signs were similar to the exotic disease, Maedi visna virus or ovine progressive pneumonia, fresh lung tissue was sent to the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong to rule out this disease. Testing was negative.
  • Further testing confirmed a diagnosis of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae pneumonia with secondary Mannheimia haemolytica infection, which is a common secondary bacterial infection in young animals.
  • Secondary bacterial pneumonias are often preceded by viral infections, environmental stress and depressed immune systems.