Watch: Tullamore Farm Series – Sheep

Held last month, the Tullamore Farm Virtual Series featured MSD’s veterinary advisor, Sarah Campbell, who spoke with the Irish Farmers Journal’s Darren Carty, covering a range of animal health issues facing sheep farmers.

Clostridial disease

On the night, Sarah highlighted the importance of vaccination against clostridial diseases. This is particularly important given that clostridial bacteria are a common cause of death in both lambs and sheep.

Clostridial infections of sheep and cattle are caused by a group of bacteria that exist in soil, on fields, within buildings and even in the tissues and intestines of cattle and sheep.

However, protection can be achieved by using a broad-spectrum vaccine to provide animals with the necessary antibodies to combat all the strains of clostridia.

Tribovax 10 is a low dose clostridial vaccine offering cattle and sheep producers the broadest available protection against clostridial bacteria.


Touching on the topic of Orf, Sarah advising sheep farmers to use preventative control measures against Orf, including the vaccination of the flock with Scabivax® Forte to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.


If farmers are having issues with abortion in their sheep, Sarah recommended that farmers get a diagnosis through submitting the foetus and placenta to a lab for analysis. If this is not possible, blood samples can be taken by a vet.

Toxoplasma gondii is the most commonly diagnosed cause of ovine abortion in Ireland and in the most recently published report, was diagnosed in 26% of samples submitted to the regional veterinary laboratories. 

Chlamydophila abortus is the second most common cause. Other less frequently diagnosed causes include leptospirosis, campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and listeriosis.

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, a control strategy can be planned. This will often involve vaccination against either toxoplasmosis, enzootic abortion (EAE) or both. 

For further information on any of the products discussed in this video contact your veterinary advisor or check out the Bovilis website for further product information.

Time for turnout – time for Tribovax 10

Many batches of calves and weanlings are being let out to grass now; a welcome relief to farmers’ workload.

An important question – have they had their clostridial vaccine?

Clostridial bacteria are everywhere; in soil, within buildings, in the muscle and gut of healthy animals. Additionally, animals are more susceptible during key husbandry practices (which break the skin) such as tagging, de-horning or castration. Clostridia lie dormant in the form of highly resistant spores which can survive for many years in the environment. The warm, damp soils of Ireland predispose to high levels of disease.

Clostridial infection usually results in sudden death. Clostridial disease remains one of the main causes of mortality in cattle. Blackleg is the most frequently diagnosed clostridial disease. June through to November is the greatest risk period in Ireland with a peak from August to October. Cases are most commonly recorded in younger cattle with 90% occurring in animals < 12 months of age. Many carcases presented to the regional veterinary laboratories for postmortem examination had not been vaccinated, were vaccinated incorrectly or vaccinated without the required strain.

Tribovax 10 is a “10 in 1” clostridial vaccine that provides broad protection against ten clostridial bacteria namely C. perfringens type A, B, C & D, C. novyi, C. septicum, C. tetani, C. sordellii, C. haemolyticum and C. chauvoei; the causes of blackleg, tetanus, malignant oedema, black disease, ‘sudden death syndrome’ (caused by C. sordellii), bacterial redwater and enterotoxaemia in cattle.

How to use Tribovax 10

  • The primary course involves 2 injections given 4-6 weeks apart

(1 injection is not enough as it is an inactivated vaccine and would provide little or no immunity)

  • Single boosters are then given at 6-12 month intervals depending on the risk profile of the batch of animals
  • It is a 2 ml dose in cattle and 1 ml dose in sheep and should be given under the skin

(recommended in the loose skin on the side of the neck)

  • It can be given to calves from 2 weeks of age
  • Shake well before-hand and use within 8 hours of opening the bottle
  • Change needles regularly while injecting

Start calves now on their two injection primary course and give weanlings their booster injection of Tribovax 10 (provided they received their full primary course within the last 12 months).