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Young lambs at ‘very high’ risk of nematodirus
Warm weather in February put early-born lambs at risk.

Online map shows rising risk levels after temperature fluctuations

Young lambs are now at ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk of nematodirus in many parts of the UK, the latest forecast suggests.

Warm weather in February put early-born lambs at risk, meaning many farmers had to treat earlier than normal, according to SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites). Risk levels rose again after a cold start to April.

In cooler regions of the UK, temperatures are yet to reach the threshold, so SCOPS is advising farmers in these areas to watch the forecast carefully.

A new feature on the online map shows when each location has changed from one risk level to another. It suggests that many areas across the UK have risen to ‘very high’ risk in the past seven to 14 days.

Kerry Sykes-Marsden, a shepherd with 900 ewes in Lincolnshire, commented: “Based on the advice on the website we’ve treated lambs earlier this year and this has avoided the ‘wait and see’ approach when we haven’t acted in the past to see clinical signs.

"Some years we have just gone in and wormed at six weeks of age, which could be too early or, even worse, too late.”

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.