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The Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) and Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group (SAGG) issues guidance to sheep farmers in response to discontinuation of watery mouth treatment

In response to the discontinuation of watery mouth treatment, Spectam Scour Halt by Ceva Animal Health, which means there will be limited supplies in 2022 and no more produced, the Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group (SAGG) and Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) are once again urging vets and farmers to engage as soon as possible to devise a plan to manage and combat the condition.

Chair of SAGG, Fiona Lovatt, says: “There has only been one authorised antibiotic product for the control of watery mouth, Spectam Scour Halt, and it has now been confirmed that following the discontinuation news, which was announced in December 2021, there are very limited supplies for 2022 and there will be no further production. Although in the sheep sector, we have already reduced usage of oral antibiotics by 48% between 2016 and 2021, there were still just under six million doses used in 2021 and we believe these were predominantly prescribed for the treatment and control of watery mouth in neonatal lambs.”

Manufacturing difficulties, set against a backdrop of steadily declining sales, led to Ceva ceasing production late in 2021.

The Sheep Veterinary Society has produced a guidance document which it is encouraging vets and farmers to read for information on potential alternative treatments, whilst highlighting that in many flocks, antibiotics are no longer used as the first line of defence in the control of watery mouth in neonatal lambs. The guidance can be found on the SVS website here: Control of watery mouth in neonatal lambs in the face of limited supply of Spectam Scour Halt for the 2022 lambing season – Sheep Veterinary Society (

Rebecca Mearns, President of The Sheep Veterinary Society, says: “We highlighted this news back in December, but as lambing season gets underway it’s right to remind the sector that this guidance, produced by SVS, can be used to support them with prescribing decisions. It is important that farmers work closely with their vets to review ewe nutrition ahead of lambing and have in place a plan, focusing on provision of colostrum and good hygiene at lambing, to manage the risk of neonatal infections and improve lamb survival.”

Fiona adds: “While the guidance provides details of alternatives to Spectam Scour Halt, it is anticipated that these will only be used in a targeted approach, once disease has been confirmed, and only for high-risk lambs. Decisions by the vets on what to use in these flocks should be based on the prescribing cascade and consider likely efficacy, results of in vitro sensitivity testing where possible, as well as the formulation and route of administration. The document considers the alternatives, with these factors in mind.

“Although the loss of this treatment leaves the sheep sector facing a fast-approaching lambing season without a similar authorised treatment, with the right planning in place between vets and farmers, then challenges can be mitigated.”

To support good practice leading up to the lambing season, the annual award-winning industry campaign, Colostrum Is Gold, is live again. It highlights the key role colostrum plays in farm animal performance through improved health while reducing antibiotic use. More information is available here: Colostrum Is Gold: feeding colostrum to calves, lambs and piglets | AHDB

For further information contact:

Fiona Lovatt Chair, Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group –

Rebecca Mearns, President, Sheep Veterinary Society –

Additional information:

  • Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group (SAGG)

The Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group (SAGG) is a voluntary group of cross sector organisations. It is responsible for co-ordinating the activity around antibiotic use in the sheep sector and to report progress on the antibiotic reduction targets on behalf of the sheep industry to the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance. Outputs of this group are available on the RUMA website:  The group is chaired by Fiona Lovatt who with Charles Sercombe report on behalf of the group into the RUMA Targets Task Force. AHDB provide the group secretariat. Group membership includes: National Sheep Association (NSA), Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS), National Farmers Union (NFU), Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Red Tractor, Farm Assured Welsh Livestock and Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA)

  • Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS)

The Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) promotes sheep health and welfare through scientific meetings, workshops and training sessions and representation on the British Veterinary Association Council and specialist Committees. The Society was formed in 1967 and the Society’s five hundred members are drawn from all sectors of the sheep industry. Most members are veterinary surgeons but a quarter of the membership are advisers, researchers, farmers and shepherds.

Biosecurity and Disease management are the essential drivers for economic sheep farming, and this remains at the forefront of the Sheep Veterinary Society’s agenda and we will continue to move this forward with the conversations between local veterinary surgeons and their sheep farmer clients being our principal focus.



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