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2 January 2015

Subsidised Barren Ewe Blood Test Now Available

MILTON KEYNES, UK, January 2, 2015 – With sheep scanning well underway shepherds with a flock barren rate greater than two percent can now ask their vet for a subsidised blood test to establish whether the cause of the problem is toxoplasmosis.

EXPERTIS™ Barren EweCheck – the diagnostic scheme supported by MSD Animal Health (known as Merck Animal Health in the United States and Canada) – is now available from vets until 31st March 2015.

Toxoplasmosis is the main infectious cause of early embryo loss in sheep and is a very common cause of barrenness, abortion and weak lambs born alive. Data from the 2014 EXPERTIS Barren EweCheck scheme showed that 85% of flocks tested had been exposed to the toxoplasma parasite.

According to MSD Animal Health technical manager, John Atkinson MRCVS, sheep pick up the toxoplasma parasite from the environment – from contaminated pasture, feed and water, for example.

“Infected cats shed toxoplasma eggs in their faeces and sheep pick up these eggs as they eat. The eggs are tough and can survive in the environment for over a year, which means farmers need to take steps to protect their sheep. The good news is that where toxoplasma infection has been confirmed in a flock the disease can be controlled effectively by a vaccination regime. What’s more, the costs of a prevention programme can be easily covered by a reduction in future flock barren rates,” he says.

Producers concerned about a high proportion of empty or aborting ewes should talk to their vet about the service as soon as possible.

About MSD Animal Health

Today's MSD is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of MSD. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals™, MSD Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. MSD Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.msd-animal-health.com.

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