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Tackling Ovine Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma (OPA) in a hill flock

Patrick Dunne, who is a participant in the Teagasc BETTER Farm Sheep programme, is on this week’s OviCast to discuss the impact of OPA on his flock and how he has addressed the issue over the past number of years.

Patrick goes back a number of years to explain how it was impacting the flock and  the lack of awareness of what was causing it. He discusses how he went about getting a diagnosis and how he enlisted the services of Vet Patrick Grant to screen the flock via ultrasound scanning to detect infected ewes at an earlier stage. 

Using this information, he was able to reduce the level of OPA in the flock and the impact that has had in subsequent years on the health and productivity of the flock.

He discusses OPA, or to give it its full title Ovine Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma, which is also referred to as Jaggsiekete or more commonly wheelbarrow disease, and it is an infectious cancerous tumour that affects the lungs of sheep. 

The disease is spread through the inhalation of the virus from respiratory secretions, it is production limiting and as the condition progresses, the virus leads to the development of multiple tumours in the lungs which lead to the overproduction of fluid in the lungs and is nearly always fatal.

Early detection relies on the use of ultrasound to detect tumours in the lungs at an early stage thereby for culling of these infected animals at an early stage and limit the spread and incidence in a flock.

For more episodes from the OviCast podcast, visit the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/ovicastpodcast