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IN 2010 we reported two incidents of chronic copper poisoning (CCP) of ewes in south-west England to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) as suspected adverse reactions (SARs). In both cases, ewes had been given capsules containing copper oxide needles.
The first incident involved the death of 11 Lleyn ewes, which had been supplemented with copper at housing in mid-pregnancy. As was the usual practice on this farm, the ewes were fed a diet of silage ad libitum and a proprietary sheep concentrate increasing in a stepwise fashion from housing to lambing.
The second incident involved a mule and Suffolk × mule flock in which 10 ewes and 33 ewe hoggs died of CCP. The ewes had been given a copper supplement in mid-pregnancy despite being fed concentrates from tupping, including for a short period a feed formulated for cattle.
In the …