Trials were carried out to compare the efficacy of copper heptonate with other available therapeutic products. On nine farms with a copper deficiency problem, over 2000 ewes were treated in mid-pregnancy. All the treatments increased whole blood copper levels and plasma caeruloplasmin (ferroxidase) activity in ewes, and protected their lambs from swayback. The lambs from ewes treated with copper heptonate and copper oxide needles had significantly higher blood copper levels than lambs from untreated control ewes. Treatment with copper heptonate was shown to have a therapeutic index of at least 5 in Swaledale ewes of normal copper status. In two groups of Welsh mountain sheep from different backgrounds, both with normal blood copper levels before treatment, the therapeutic indices were 3 to 5.
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