Look out for lead


May to August are the peak months for seeing lead poisoning cases with 74% of our diagnoses made during the summer months after turn out, with younger animals more susceptible.

Food Standards Scotland have responsibility for protecting the food chain and has produced a really useful resource which is of use for vets and farmers and can be found on their website. Please share it with your clients.

Key checks for farmers include:

  • Check that vehicle and fence batteries are stored securely and out of reach of animals
  • Check fields and fences for fly-tipping before putting animals out to pasture
  • Has the fence line been damaged by a car accident on icy roads over the winter? Have all remains, particularly the battery of the vehicle been removed?
  • Be aware of bonfire ash remaining in a field as a potential source of lead
  • Check buildings and equipment for old lead paint peeling off

Clinical presentations of acute disease to be aware of include:

  • Sudden death
  • Blindness
  • Ataxia, convulsions, hyperaesthesia
  • Abdominal distention
  • Teeth grinding

If you are concerned about suspect cases, please do not hesitate to get in touch. From a sampling perspective, heparinised blood samples, fresh kidney and fixed brain for histopathology are useful samples / tissues to collect.

Posted by SRUC Veterinary Services on 30/05/2024

Tags: Production Disease
Categories: Sheep | Cattle