Sheep scab had been almost eradicated, but it's back with a vengeance. If we work together and take the correct approach, we can break the cycle.
Materials such as posters, fact sheets, and information leaflets from vets, trainers, and experts are available for everyone. Individuals and organisations can download and share them with their team.
Richard Scofield, Sheep Dipping Expert, and Assessor with over 20 years of industry experience explains: ‘Sadly, the scab has returned with a vengeance, but this time we have all the tools to combat it. If we work smartly and collaboratively, we can break the cycle.
Responsible treatment and testing are our weapons, but used incorrectly we’re just battling and not winning the war on scab.
Dipping, where necessary, should be done sequentially from September to the end of November in relation to how high up the flock grazes, taking place before tupping. And of course, coordinating with neighbouring farms is vital. Being open and honest is so important. No, matter the bio-security – knowing thy neighbour has never been more important. Bolstering this with testing and when there is a breakout, rapid & targeted treatment, and testing in infected farms in the vicinity until scab has gone.’
Vet Karen Swindlehurst, BVMS, MRCVS, a farm animal vet specialising in flock health, explains: ‘We are seeing a significantly higher incidence of scab than in the past. The recent development of a blood sample to screen for scab infestation is a game changer in the diagnosis and control of the parasite. The fact that we can detect scab within two weeks of exposure makes this an incredibly useful tool in diagnosis and control. We can, for example, screen purchased sheep to ensure we are not introducing scab.
Control depends on good biosecurity and quarantine measures in flocks alongside timely treatments of all sheep. A key element here is the coordination between neighbours to ensure treatments are carried out in a short time interval. This prevents infestations from being constantly spread.
In fact, shepherds working together will tackle the stigma around the condition and in turn, reduce the number of cases. To get a diagnosis and tailored health plan, speak to your local vet.‘
Together We Can Break The Cycle
Many industry stakeholders are collaborating with us, if you feel passionate about Break The Sheep Scab Cycle and would like to have a role, please do get in touch.
Our mission is to work together to eradicate sheep scab. We have done it before and if we unite, we can do it again.
How to Become Accredited
Did you know it’s a criminal offense to use sheep dip without accreditation?
Not only could you incur a fine, but you could face a prison sentence.
Lowe Maintenance provides online training courses and has launched the UK’s first and only online City & Guilds-accredited course for the safe use of sheep dip. The only time you need to leave your farm is for the final face to face assessments will take place in Settle, North Yorkshire.
Download Our Materials
Please complete this form and we will email you the links to our Break The Sheep Scab Cycle materials.
OP dip is a dangerous product for you and the environment, as such you need to demonstrate safe use.
Clinical signs of sheep scab include severe itching, restlessness, wool loss, skin lesions, thickened skin and weight loss.
Sheep scab is caused by mites, that live in the fleece and cause intense itching. The mites are highly contagious and spread very easily.
Sheep dipping is the only way to guarantee complete coverage when treating sheep scab. Injectables due to possible misuse are creating some resistance issues.
Yes. To buy the OP dip product, you need a certificate of competency, which is exactly what we supply through our online courses.
There is no such thing as grandfather rights to use sheep dip. You must have a certificate of competence in the safe use of sheep dip.
Sheep scab can be identified by rubbing and scratching against fence posts, nibbling of fleeces, and areas of fleece from scratching and fleece loss. Affected sheep can become dull and depressed, separating from the rest of the flock.
No, sheep scab only affects sheep, humans are unaffected by the disease.
No. Dipping targets external parasites only, meaning it gets only what it needs to – scab, ticks, lice blowfly and keds.
Typically, dipping takes place from August to October, before the tupping season. However, due to the scale of the sheep scab problem, don’t be surprised to see dipping occurring all year round in recent years.
As long as you have the certificate of competence in the safe use of sheep dip then yes.
You learn everything that you need to on the course, the candidate portal is full of information, take the time to read it!
It is illegal to move sheep visibly affected by sheep scab, unless they are being taken to be treated, or for immediate slaughter.
Yes. Sheep scab is currently endemic in the UK and a notifiable disease in Scotland, and it is an offence to not treat visibly affected sheep.
Sheep should be dipped at least once per year, where necessary.
Yes, you will not be able to purchase legally without your sheep dip qualification.
In order to purchase sheep dip you must have a certificate of competence.
Sheep scab is highly contagious and spread through mites. It can also be transmitted through the clothing, strands of wool and equipment of sheep handlers.
An individual sheep should be dipped for one minute, and the head dipped a minimum of once to ensure the ears are treated.
No! OP dip is only licenced for use when plunge dipping. It is illegal to use OP dip through showers and jetters.
Besides, it will not work effectively, you could be building up resistance in the mites and it will not do your own health any good to be inhaling droplets of dip.
Not to mention the fines you could receive.
Further reading. . .
Attention sheep farmers: sheep dipping advice update!
For those in Northern Ireland.
DAERA would like to remind flock keepers about the responsible use of products licensed for the treatment of sheep scab.
New campaign to drive down sheep scab infestations
The initiative seeks to raise awareness of the rise of sheep scab, support the management of the condition, stop re-infection and empower farmers to adopt a prevention mindset by working together as a community
Sheep dipping facilities: keeping the environment and your own health in mind
With sheep dip being one of the most hazardous tasks undertaken on a sheep farm, a proper dipping system in place is required to keep risks to human health and the environment to a minimum.
Why Choose Lowe Maintenance?
Award-winning City and Guilds accredited courses.
Knowledgeable trainers with real-world experience.
Friendly team works with you to achieve the best results.
High pass rates
Working hard with candidates to provide the knowledge to achieve high pass rates.
Professional training designed to get you industry ready.
Accredited and affordably priced training courses.
Consistent five star reviews speak for themselves.
Working hard on sustainability and caring for the environment.
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