Project title: Investigating the efficacy of sheep respiratory vaccines in pre-weaned and weaned lambs
The Alberta Lamb Producers recently received $150,000 in funding from RDAR to evaluate the efficacy of a UK sheep respiratory vaccine from Merck called Ovipast Plus, and to evaluate an experimental sheep respiratory vaccine from VIDO, which was built a few years ago with ALMA funding and support of others in the sheep industry, including ALP and OSF. Lead researchers for this vaccine study are Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed from Alberta, Dr. Cathy Bauman from Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), and Dr. Jose Perez-Casal from VIDO.
The RDAR funding is matched with industry funding from Alberta Lamb Producers (ALP), Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF), Merck Animal Health, and the North American Lamb Corporation (NALC).
The research will evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccines in ewes in boosting colostral immunity to reduce preweaning mortality and in weaned lambs to reduce post-weaning mortality. Additional outcomes that will be measured include growth performance and carcass quality. The research requires large numbers of ewes and feeder lambs with the ability to follow the animals through slaughter; therefore, the research will be conducted at the NALC ewe barns and feedlot in Iron Springs, Alberta and the feeder lambs will be followed through at slaughter at Canada Lamb Processors in Innisfail, Alberta.
This research will also provide training of a Master’s student in epidemiology at OVC. The research will start this fall and hopefully be completed by December 2022. Results will be communicated to sheep producers.
We thank RDAR for supporting this important industry applied vaccine research and stayed tuned for more project updates to come!