Dipping equipment will help prevent further outbreak of sheep scab

Sheep will soon be getting dipped at the marts in Lerwick in a bid to prevent another outbreak of sheep scab.

Shetland Livestock Marketing Group says crucial new equipment aimed at stopping the spread of the condition will be installed.

Sheep being imported to the isles will be tested and treated by vets at the pier, as usual.

However, the owner, or importer, of the sheep will then be responsible for transporting the animal to the marts for dipping.

In February a ram imported from the mainland into a Shetland flock tested positive for sheep scab.

The infection spread into other animals on the holding.

This was the first time the infection has been identified in Shetland since 1994.

Sheep scab is said to be more common in mainland Scotland.

It is now recognised that sheep scab mites are resistant to injectable products, and can only be treated by dipping.

Veterinary surgeon Karis Johnson said: “We hope it can be understood that dipping sheep on import to Shetland has become the next essential step in helping to preserve Shetland’s animal health status.

“The recent introduction of sheep scab to Shetland came as a sharp reminder of how easily our status can be compromised.

“Despite this, the breach reiterated the excellent and prompt response the Shetland Animal Health Scheme can coordinate to control such an outbreak, and should remind us of what a great resource we have in the scheme.”


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