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Prevalence and on-farm risk factors for diarrhoea in meat lamb flocks in Western Australia

Sweeny, J.P.A., Ryan, U.M.ORCID: 0000-0003-2710-9324, Robertson, I.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-4255-4752 and Jacobson, C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9427-1941 (2012) Prevalence and on-farm risk factors for diarrhoea in meat lamb flocks in Western Australia. The Veterinary Journal, 192 (3). pp. 503-510.

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Diarrhoea is a widespread problem for sheep enterprises worldwide. A cross-sectional epidemiological study was conducted using a questionnaire to determine the prevalence of diarrhoea and associated risk factors where there was evidence of recent diarrhoea (active diarrhoea or fresh faecal soiling of breech fleece) for meat lambs on farms in southern Western Australia during 2010. The response rate was 41.4% (139/336).

Evidence of recent diarrhoea was reported on 64.8% of farms, with a mean of 6.9% lambs affected per farm. Location of a farm and a higher annual rainfall were associated with an increased diarrhoea prevalence. Binary logistic regression analysis suggested that the drinking water source was associated with the incidence of diarrhoea, since lamb flocks supplied with dam water were 117 times (95% CI: 18.2, 754.8) more likely to have observed diarrhoea or fresh breech fleece faecal soiling than lamb flocks supplied with other sources of water. Faecal worm egg counts were used by 65% of respondents to determine whether an anthelmintic treatment was warranted and 74% of respondents administered a treatment to their meat lambs. In response to a range of diarrhoea scenarios presented to respondents (5%, 25% and 50% of the flock with evidence of recent diarrhoea), 15.1% would have elected to administer an anthelmintic treatment regardless of differences in prevalence.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Balliere Tindall
Copyright: © 2011 Elsevier Ltd
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