Thursday, 23 September 2021 11:55

Benefits of long-acting B12 injections

Written by  Andrew Roe
A long lasting B12 injection when given at given at tailing lasts for six months – or for the life of most of your finishing lambs, if a 0.5 mL dose is used. A long lasting B12 injection when given at given at tailing lasts for six months – or for the life of most of your finishing lambs, if a 0.5 mL dose is used.

Central Southland vet Andrew Roe reviews use of the long-acting vitamin B12 injection products, SMARTShot B12 and SMARTShot B12 plus SE, in the management of vitamin B12/cobalt deficiency with and without selenium deficiency in ewes and lambs.*

When it comes to helping our sheep farmer clients prevent vitamin B12/cobalt deficiency in their stock, one of the biggest challenges - compared to dealing with deficiencies of other trace elements - is the variability and unpredictability of cobalt levels in their pastures.

Due to a range of factors, the timing and severity of deficiency can vary from year to year, farm to farm, and even across different parts of the same farm. SMARTShot takes away all the guesswork around vitamin B12 supplementation.

It is given at tailing - and lasts for six months (or for the life of most of your finishing lambs, if a 0.5mL dose is used). Farmers in my area (southern South Island) can be confident that the vitamin B12 with/without selenium requirements of their lambs will be met for the whole of the period where cobalt levels may be low in their pastures. For those farmers in areas that experience more severe cobalt deficiency, there is the option to treat the ewes as well, to ensure that their lambs start life with adequate vitamin B12 reserves.

Convenience is the other important benefit of SMARTShot.

While it may be possible to achieve similar results using repeated injections of short-acting vitamin B12 and selenium products.

The need to yard the lambs monthly - as well as the extra work around administering multiple injections, not to mention the increased risk of injection-site lesions - all add to the appeal of SMARTShot.

From a veterinary perspective, SMARTShot is a great product and I do not believe that anyone would dispute its effectiveness.

Our challenge is to point out to our farmer clients the value, in terms of productivity, reliability, and convenience, of investing in a long-acting vitamin B12 and selenium treatment for their lambs.

In studies of cobalt and selenium-deficient flocks, following a single long-acting vitamin B12 injection of lambs at docking, vitamin B12 levels were increased and maintained at adequate levels for 3-4 months until time of slaughter. Mean growth rates were increased above that of untreated controls for 6 months and liveweights maintained for 8 months.

Following a single long-acting vitamin B12 plus selenium injection of ewes pre-mating, adequate levels of vitamin B12 were maintained for 180 days and levels ot selenium for 300 days.

Adequate levels were maintained in their lambs until 1 month of age for vitamin B12 and until weaning for selenium.

Key Findings

  • Vitamin B12/cobalt and selenium are important for the development and productivity of flocks grazed on NZ pastures.
  • About 45% and 25% of NZ pastures, respectively, will not provide adequate cobalt and selenium for grazing livestock.
  • Because lambs should be treated as early as possible to prevent deficiencies of vitamin B12/cobalt or selenium, preference should be given to injecting at docking time.
  • SMARTShot is a novel form of long-acting vitamin B12 injection with or without selenium for vitamin B12/cobalt and selenium supplementation in sheep.

National

B+LNZ bosses head to Europe

For the first time since Covid-19 travel restrictions were implemented, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) says it will send…

Deer management funding welcomed

The NZ Game Animal Council (GAC) welcomes the $30 million allocated in Budget 2022 to implement the New Zealand Biodiversity…

Machinery & Products

A new approach to apprenticeships

By taking a new approach to its apprenticeship programme, agricultural equipment supplier Norwood says it is ensuring farmers’ machinery will…

Buck-Rake does the job

With many self-propelled forage harvester manufacturers offering machines hitting 1000hp, the bottleneck in any harvesting system is always likely to…

Pigtail standards made to last

Feedback from farmers highlighted frustration at the time and cost involved in frequently replacing failed pigtail posts.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Say what?

OPINION: This old mutt almost choked while chewing his bone when he happened upon the latest politically-correct advice that’s been…

Why bother?

OPINION: A mate of the Hound’s recently applied for membership with Ashburton-based farm supply co-operative Ruralco.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter