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Managing Twin-lamb disease with SugarMAXX

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Twin lamb Disease (also known as pregnancy toxaemia & ketosis) is the most common metabolic problem of sheep. Associated with late pregnancy in ewes, it typically occurs 2-3 weeks before lambing and is usually seen in overly fat ewes, ewes in poor condition, ewes on a poor-quality diet and ewes of poor fitness, almost always carrying twins and triplets.

Twin lamb disease is caused by incomplete glucose synthesis and mobilisation which results in low blood sugar and fatty acid accumulation in the liver. This hampers the normal function of the liver, resulting in increased oxidation of fatty acids and production of ketone bodies. Ewes suffering from twin lamb disease will separate from the flock, appear drowsy, weak and will not eat. Monitoring blood beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels is a well-recognised tool for determining the energy status of the ewe and a way of identifying those ewes at risk.

Treatment for twin lamb disease relies on a glucose drench or injection, which often includes calcium, phosphorus and magnesium and will need to be repeated a number of times as recovery may take some time.

Prevention is always better than cure and twin lamb disease is avoidable through the avoidance of major stress factors, such as late gathering, sudden feed changes or running out of daily ration along with a balanced ration based on scanning results and body condition score. Offering a high sugar, free access supplement during the risk period, such as Rumenco’s SugarMAXX can also help support ewes during this time.

SugarMAXX is a low moisture molassed feed and mineral bucket which ensures controlled, consistent intakes on the approach to lambing, supplying high levels of sugar (50% sugar) which is readily available for those ewes at risk of twin lamb.

SugarMAXX is the ideal alternative to glucose buckets this lambing time, in addition to high sugar it also contains a full complement of minerals, vitamins and trace elements which are important to support health and production at this crucial time in the sheep calendar.

SugarMAXX also contains Phytotec, a unique blend of plant extracts, essential oils and fermentation products. Ingredients that have been chosen to support robust digestive health and feed conversion efficiency.

SugarMAXX should be offered free access at a ratio of one 22.5kg bucket per 35 head of sheep. Always ensure ad-lib forage is available. Typical intakes up to 150 g/h/d.