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Cobalt/B12 in lambs

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Fleur Barker

Author

06 December 2018

We all understand the importance of B12 for optimal growth and performance of our fattening and replacement lambs.

Early indications from liver biopsies done in young lambs so far this season, is that B12 levels are looking marginal-low. Mineralised drenches will provide small doses of cobalt, however these are short-acting and often injectable B12 is needed to keep liver and blood levels sufficient for optimal growth. It is thought that when lambs are injected with Vitamin B12, there can be an up to 25% increase in liveweight gain for a short period (up to 10 days) due to the positive effect on the metabolism. This effect seems to occur independently of the liver level status of the lambs. Injectable B12 comes in 2 forms: Shortacting B12 (Multine B12, Prolaject B12, Prolavax)- these are shortacting products and we would expect supplementation to last 3-4 weeks. Longacting B12 (Smartshot + Se and Smartshot Prime lamb).

These product’s can be administered at a 0.5 or 1ml dose; Administration of 0.5mL from 3 weeks of age (at tailing), would expect to give adequate concentrations up to 3-4 months. Following injection of lambs with 1mL from 3 weeks of age (at tailing), vitamin B12 levels would be expected to be maintained at adequate concentrations for 180 days (4.5 months), and in some cases up to 200–240 days (5-6 months). Please give us a call if you would like to discus B12 supplementation options for your lambs, or you are interested in checking B12 levels in lambs on your property.

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