These information sheets are provided for your interest. They should not replace veterinary advice from your veterinary surgeon.

Whilst every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, your specific circumstances must be discussed before advice can be given.

Update 11 June 2013: We now have Bovilis SBV vaccine in stock

We have Bovilis SBV vaccine in stock. Clients, please click here to login and order your required doses, which will be delivered during the next delivery period.


Update 22 May 2013: MSD announce the production of Bovilis SBV, the first vaccine to protect against Schmallenberg Virus (SBV)

UK farmers will the be first in the EU to be able to protect their sheep and cattle against SBV. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate "fast tracked" the licencing process, granting MSD a Provisional Marketing Authorisation in order for the vaccine to be available before most of this year's animals are pregnant. If the pregnant animal is exposed to the virus, damage can be caused to the foetus, giving the birth defects that we have been seeing over the previous 12 months which is why the most benefit will be gained if the animals are covered before pregnancy. The wamer months are also considered to be a higher risk period as this is when the midges are more active.

VMD chief executive, Pete Borriello, said: "This is the culmination of intensive activity on the part of MSD Animal Health and the VMD to make a safe and effective vaccine available to tackle Schmallenberg.

"Without in any way compromising the scientific rigour of our assessment process, we accelerated our assessment so that a vaccine will be available this summer."

On 31 March this year, Schmallenberg Disease (SBV) had been confirmed on 1,753 UK farms - a rapid 14.5% increase on the previous month, although there is concern that in fact, there have been far more cases which haven’t been reported.Transmitted by midges, the spread has been far more significant than Bluetongue because the midges carry a greater viral load.

For more information on Schmallenberg Virus, see below and

This is the announcement straight from MSD, who have made this vaccine: Click here




on 29 November 2012 George Giles wrote:

In the last week we have seen a number of suspect cases of Schmallenberg in lambs. Clinical signs have varied from mild joint abnormalities to severely deformed limbs. We have also seen neurological cases of hydranencephaly (where the brain tissue is replaced by spinal fluid) in which lambs have twisted necks and are unable to stand. Some affected lambs are born live with these deformities and it is important that you consider the long term viability of these animals as some cases may need immediate euthanasia to prevent suffering and distress.

Following the emergence of Schmallenberg virus in Germany the Netherlands and Belgium in 2011, the first cases were recorded in the UK in January 2012 in the South East of England. The virus which affects cattle, sheep and goats has been associated with birth defects and can also affect productivity in adult cattle. The virus is spread by vectors such as midges and mosquitoes and the introduction to the UK is likely to be from infected midges blown across the channel.  

Whilst Schmallenberg Virus is not a notifiable disease we encourage farmers to contact us in the first instance if there is any suspicion that your herd or flock is suffering from stillborn foetuses, neurological signs in neonates or limb or spinal deformities. We will then contact the AHVLA Laboratory and discuss the options of performing a post mortem examination and sending samples off for a definitive diagnosis. The VLA are no longer performing the tests free of charge however as the disease can affect a very large proportion of the herd it is often very useful to have a definitive diagnosis.

As mentioned previously the virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and midges. Although minimising exposure of animals to these insects should stop infection, these measures were not very effective for the control of Bluetongue. The possibility of horizontal transmission is not yet known however until a diagnosis is made any abortion should be treated as infectious and therefore separated from pregnant ewes and ewes that have recently lambed. Delaying the start of tupping until later in the season when midge activity has decreased may help to decrease the number of deformed lambs however this will not suit all management systems. A suitable vaccine has not yet been developed however scientists are currently working on an effective vaccine.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggests that there is a low likelihood of any risk to public health, however sensible precautions such as washing hands with warm soapy water after assisting a ewe or cow to give birth are highly recommended. Pregnant women are advised as always to not handle or contact any lambing ewes and particularly aborted material due to the risk of exposure to other zoonotic diseases.