First published in the March 2019 issue of the magazine of the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association.
A problem that often seen in animal carcasses at the freezing works is abscesses, that can be quite large, caused by vaccination needles having been inserted directly into the muscle. The problem is elevated further when the needle was dirty and we see, what we in the industry call, tracking. This is where the lesion extends away from the initial injection site and, in the worst cases, the lesion can extend up the neck and right up to the top of the shoulder blades. With large lesions there is also the possibility of the localised lymph node involvement requiring removal. Both large lesions and or lymph node removal will cause the possible down grading of the carcass.
So how should we vaccinate sheep?
Firstly, lift the skin to form a fold into which the needle is pushed into longways, not across.
Secondly, this skin fold should be made up behind the ear.
Done this way, there is minimal, if any, damage done to the carcass, and if it is done properly the remains of the vaccination will often be removed with the skin.
It’s not rocket science, the information is out there, but as most vaccinating is done at tailing, it is a time when we are all rushed and things get done the quickest way possible.