Cobalt deficiency in lambs? You'd better avoid!
Cobalt deficiency is one of the main reasons lambs do not grow properly, with all its consequences. Sheep also have an increased need for Cobalt, particularly for wool growth.
What Cobalt does
Cobalt is used in the rumen of ruminants by bacteria for the production of vitamin B12. Then vitamin B12 is being absorbed by the small intestine and absorbed into the blood. Vitamin B12 is a cofactor for two enzymes (methylmalonyl-CoA mutase and methionine synthetase) which play a major role in energy metabolism. A lack of Cobalt leads to a deficiency of vitamin B12. This causes a metabolic disorder which, for example, causes liver damage. Young, growing animals (lambs), are more prone to the affects of cobalt deficiency than adult animals. Cobalt deficiency in lambs occurs in most cases after weaning (at the age of 3 to 4 months, also from early May until September / October).
How do I know my lambs have cobalt deficiency?
The lambs stay behind, grow poorly despite of adequate feed and deworming. Some animals have a large head with tear stains, decreased resistance, more prone to infections (intestinal worm infections), poor-looking coat and reduced fertility.
When in doubt, make a certain diagnosis through blood tests for vitamin B12. Furthermore, liver study (by section or via a biopsy) is possible. Also the soil and crop can be tested for its cobalt content.
Cobalt requirement can be easily and instantly be solved with a Uno Lamb bolus or Cobalt Drench Plus. With Cobalt Drench Plus the Cobalt requirement is covered for approximately 2 months (= 60 days). With the Uno Lamb bolus the requirement is covered for approximately 2 months (=120 days) With a B12 injection the requirement is covered for 3 weeks (= 21 days).
Uno Lamb bolus has the longest and most reliable operating time and is the only bolus that doesn’t just provide cobalt and vitamin B12 but also selenium and iodine. The Uno Lamb bolus can be combined with any deworming or other treatment.