The arrival of warmer weather and lighter evenings means that lambing time is here. This doesn’t bring us the huge extra workload it used to as we no longer get many of the simple jobs – the lambs arriving with one leg back or twins tangled together – farmers manage most of these themselves now. The ones brought to us tend to have problems such as ringwomb, where the cervix hasn’t opened sufficiently to allow the lambs out, or cases where the lambs have died inside and are now just a stinky mess – lovely!! We also see large single lambs, especially late in the season. The value of ewes and lambs has risen in recent years so farmers are more willing to pay the cost of a caesarian section at the moment. The other day I delivered a deformed lamb born (dead) with its internal organs on the outside of the body.The part presenting at the vulva was the liver! This particular deformity, known as a shistosoma reflexus, has always been an occasional defect in sheep and cattle. Bizarre defects in lambs are now occurringin flocks as a result of infection with Schmallenberg virus in southern England and Wales. This virus, spread by midges, could have a devastating effect on sheep farming in Britain over the next few years. It appeared out of the blue less that two years ago in the small town in Germany from which it gotits name. It’s amazing how viruses, which have no brain, can seem so clever. But of course it’s just an example of natural selection:- viruses mutate all the time. It’s just that some mutations give an advantage that alow the organism to be more successful. A similar situation occurred with the emergence of Canine Parvovirus when I was a newly qualified vet, thought to be a mutation of a similar virus in geese. This disease still causes problems, with recent deaths in Ruabon in unvaccinated dogs having been confirmed in the laboratory.