Sheep farming

Why every sheep farmer needs an effective quarantine procedure

Without a quarantine procedure, you risk infecting your flock with resistant parasites and other diseases. What this could do to your profits doesn’t bear thinking about. Here’s how to set up a simple, effective quarantine process for new or returning sheep.

WHY DO YOU NEED A QUARANTINE PROCEDURE?

A quarantine procedure is an awful lot of fuss, isn’t it? Well no, not really. The consequences of not having one can be severe. When a new sheep is introduced to your flock, it’s impossible to know what parasites they are harbouring. The same is true for sheep that are returning to your farm after grazing elsewhere.

Without quarantine, these sheep could bring worms, sheep scab and other parasitic diseases straight in to your flock. Meaning your usual treatments may not be enough to eradicate them.

The bottom line? Overlooking a sensible quarantine procedure for incoming sheep undermines your ability to control parasitic outbreaks among your flock in the future. That could prove a costly mistake - both in terms of time and money.

The good news: it’s easy to create a simple, effective quarantine protocol on your farm.

HOW DO YOU QUARANTINE SHEEP?

All sheep, both bought-in and returning, must be quarantined before they join the rest of your flock. This dramatically reduces the risk of them passing on any parasites they may have picked up.

Sheep should be quarantined on a hard standing yard, living within a lazaretto for a minimum of 24-48 hours. This provides time for parasitic eggs to pass through the gut and out into the faeces (which will drop on the floor of your yard, rather than your pasture).

TREATING PARASITES IN QUARANTINE

Of course, before you release sheep from quarantine, you want to be sure that they are free from nasty parasites. There are a couple of especially formulated products that can help, depending on the condition you are treating.

Worms

Resistant worms cost the UK sheep farming industry £84 million per year1. It’s a huge problem. Research shows that 94% of farms have worms that are resistant to benzimidazole drenches. 68% have worms that are resistant to levamisole drenches. 51% have worms that are resistant to ivermectin drenches2.

STARTECT® is a dual active drench. It tackles worms that have become resistant to anthelmintics. With two active ingredients, any worms that survive one drench are likely to be removed by the other. So not only does it remove stubborn worms, it prevents future resistance too - helping you to prevent parasitic outbreaks on your farm in the future.3

Sheep scab

With sheep scab, the advice is to assume your incoming sheep are infected unless you are certain they are clear. CYDECTIN® LA for sheep has been proven to treat scab infestations and to prevent re-infestations for 60 days from a single injection. Used alongside STARTECT it provides a belt and braces approach to removing resistant worms and sheep scab.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER QUARANTINE?

Quarantine may sound extreme. But an isolation period of 24-48 hours for new and returning sheep can slash the risk of resistant worms harming the welfare of your flock. After quarantine move your incoming sheep to pasture that hosts resident worms if possible. This helps to ensure any worms that survive quarantine are diluted by other susceptible worms already on the pasture. It’s a critical step in slowing the development of anthelmintic resistance. A proactive parasite management programme that fits with the level of anthelmintic resistance on your farm is worth discussing with your vet or advisor.

PROTECT YOUR PROFITS AS WELL AS YOUR FLOCK

Your quarantine procedure is a case of good disease prevention management. Maintaining a simple quarantine procedure helps to protect your profits as well as your flock. For further information on best practice quarantine and management of refugia visit the SCOPS website.

1.Nieuwhof, G.J. and Bishop, S.C. (2005) Costs of the major endemic diseases of sheep in Great Britain and the potential benefits of reduction in disease impact. Animal Science, 81: 23-29
2. 1 WAARD Project Final Report. Sept 2015
3. Bartram et al, 2012, the role of combination anthelmintic formulations in the sustainable control of sheep nematodes Veterinary Parasitology 186 (2012) 151– 158
CYDECTIN 20 MG/ML LA SOLUTION FOR INJECTION FOR SHEEP contains moxidectin. POM-VPS STARTECT DUAL ACTIVE ORAL SOLUTION FOR SHEEP contains derquantel and abamectin. POM-VPS
For further information please see the product’s SPC or contact Zoetis UK Limited, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS. www.zoetis.co.uk. Customer Support: 0845 300 8034.
Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). Date of preparation: October 2017 AH756/17