Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Internal parasite treatment and control

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With the warm and moist weather at present, and young stock needing to eat a lot of grass to meet their growing requirements, there will be plenty of exposure to worms.

These internal parasites do a lot of damage to young animals in particular, which makes autumn an important time to have a worming control programme in place. The most prolific worm is Cooperia spp.

Following repeated exposure to worms, cattle and sheep generate an acquired immunity. This is why adults are less likely to need drenching unlike young stock that do in order to grow to their full potential. Horses and goats, on the contrary, may never acquire adequate immunity to worms and therefore in general need drenching periodically throughout their lives.

Each species and each specific environment needs a worm control programme tailored to its specific needs. In general, there are some common strategies that can be employed.

Prevention of disease is better than treating stock that are already sick. With warm temperatures parasites grow faster and start breeding sooner, which we know allows worm populations to become plentiful both inside animals and on pasture. Once populations reach dangerous levels, young stock will ultimately show signs of diarrhoea, poor growth, sickness and even death. Worms typically have a life cycle of about three weeks, therefore drenching every four weeks, especially in lambs, is crucial to keep worm populations under control.

Appreciate what level of challenge and type of worms are present. Whether you are new to a property or it has been a while since a check has been done, it pays to send in some faecal samples to the clinic who can request lab testing for a Faecal Egg Count. The FEC should provide guidance as to the type of worm control required and sampling is better done prior to drenching of stock.

Use the correct drench in terms of type, dose rate and frequency to best counter worms on your property. Your local vet clinic staff are willing and able to assist you with this important challenge.

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