Sheep farmers are being advised to find out what the worm challenge is on their farm after farms across the country reported mixed infestations from faecal egg counts.
Farms involved in the Zoetis Parasite Watch scheme have been challenged by different types of worms at the same time, which is important to know for treatment purposes. This spring has seen a mixed challenge by worms, with a high challenge being reported on some farms and low on others
Farmers should find out whether the challenge is just from Nematodirus or other stomach worms before treating. If you’ve got a mixed infestation then you need to be confident the drug you are using will treat against both Nematodirus and other stomach worms.
The most dangerous situation is when a wormer is only 60-90% effective as you won’t see any visual resistance issues in your lambs, but you won’t be maximising their growth potential. You will also be allowing resistance to build up on your farm.
Tom Carlisle, Coxons Farm, Skipton, is involved in the Zoetis Parasite Watch Scheme and found he had a challenge with both Nematodirus and other stomach worms. The challenge was a lot earlier than they would have expected. Normally Mr Carlisle would dose lambs in the middle of May, but the high egg counts meant that he dosed earlier. By taking faecal egg counts he is not spending money unnecessarily on treatments that are not required and more importantly choosing the most suitable wormer for the challenge. This is aiding the growth, welfare and the nutrition of the lambs.
In the South West, Neilsen Gillard, Creeds Farm, Bridgwater, Somerset, had a high worm egg challenge in his lambs at the end of April. This is despite lambs being treated with a white wormer prior to the sample being taken. This could indicate a resistance problem; they will be doing some resistance testing as the lambs get older.
The testing for resistance and knowledge of successful worming has led to lambs doing so well that the first finished batches from singles were 12 weeks old. They came in at 26kg deadweight just off grass alone.
The aim of Parasite Watch is to show what is happening across the UK using an interactive map found at www.parasitewatch.co.uk. Parasite data from each of the farms will be updated regularly, which will allow farmers to see if there are spikes in certain parasites throughout the year in their area and enable them to take appropriate action.
To use the map, click on a farm in your area and details of any parasites that have been found as well as when they were detected will be displayed. Test results will be online within hours of the test being taken.
For further information, please see the product SPC, or contact your veterinary surgeon, SQP or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7NS. Customer Support 0845 3008034. www.zoetis.co.uk . Always seek the advice of your medicines provider. Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). AH415/17
Dave is an RCVS advanced practitioner in Sheep Health and Production. He qualified from the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College in 2004, working mainly as a production animal veterinary surgeon, until joining Zoetis (previously known as Pfizer Animal Health) in 2010 as an Area Veterinary Manager. In 2015 Dave joined the Zoetis National Veterinary Manager team.
Dave’s areas of interest are the health and production of sheep and the sustainable control of parasites in farm animals. He is the chair of the NOAH anti-parasitics committee and sits on various national cross industry bodies including the sustainable control of parasites in sheep (SCOPS) board.
Dave is from a farming background and still manages his own flock of pedigree Texel and commercial mule sheep on the Welsh-Shropshire border.