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All news / New veterinary rules for sheep breeders developed by Ministry of Agriculture

  • 08 Feb 2023, 11:43

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture has developed a draft of new veterinary rules to combat contagious pustular dermatitis (ecthyma). It is an infectious disease of sheep and goats, which causes considerable damage to small ruminant production.

“The Russian Ministry of Agriculture receives requests from individuals and businesses on the update of the regulatory framework for ektima,” the summary report for the project says. The disease causes significant damage to farmers, resulting from loss of weight and emaciation of animals, retardation of growth in lambs, and mortality rate (over 10%).

With a long-term course of disease, all animals in the herd are affected. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, mortality is reported to reach 50% for sheep and 90% for lambs. “The high morbidity rate among sheep and goats is caused by the extreme transmissibility of the infection. The disease is reported in Europe, Asia, America, Africa and Australia,” the ministry added.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, losses at the death of animals reach 300 rubles per 1 kg of meat. The average sheepskin, lambskin, and goat skin price amounts to 100 rubles, depending on the quality of processing and color.

The new veterinary rules set requirements for the prevention and diagnostic assessment of the disease, and describe suspected infection and quarantine measures.

The ecthyma prevention measures require a 30-day quarantine for newly acquired animals. Besides that, animals must be examined once in 7 days. Sheep and goats from different herds should be kept separately during grazing and watering.

The rules establish procedures for specimen collection and ecthyma diagnostics, and describe cases when it should be considered confirmed.

The length of the quarantine period should not be less than 30 days. The rules describe the procedures to be carried out in contaminated or high-risk zones.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, all sheep and goat inventory in Russia totals 1,6 million heads.

The new rules come into force on September 1, 2023, and will be valid until September 1, 2029.

The document is available at the portal for draft regulatory legal acts.

Information Note

Ecthyma is a contagious infectious disease of sheep, goats, and other representatives of Caprinae.

Clinical signs of ecthyma include vesicular lesions that occur in the mouth, muzzle, udder, inter-hoof gap, hoof corolla; fever, difficulty in taking food and water, lameness and mastitis.

The pathogen is transmitted by infected or recovered susceptible animals. The infection is possible through injured skin or damaged mucous membranes in the mouth or genitals.