One for the Sheep, Goat & Alpaca owners
Since 1788 when Cape Fat Tail sheep arrived in Australia with the First Fleet Australia has had a proud history of growing and producing the best sheep in the world (significantly better than the kiwi’s). Today over 32 million lambs are born in Australia every year. But are we looking after our wooly friends as best we can?
The greatest difficulty faced by sheep, goat and alpaca owners is worms.
Where are adults found
Abomasum (the 2nd stomach) – Barbers pole worm and Black scour worm
Small intestine – Thin-necked intestinal worm and Black scour worm
Large intestine – Large-mouthed bowel worm and Large bowel worm
Worm eggs in the environment
Eggs are released by adults in the gastrointestinal tract. These eggs are then passed in the faeces and contaminate pasture and water
The pasture on which sheep/goats are grazed acts as an egg reservoir. Eggs may remain in the environment for weeks, months or even years
Eggs hatch depending on temperature, humidity and oxygen
Worms can and will cause varying types of problems, including
Anaemia – reduced red blood cells
Some sheep and goats can have over 2000 worms or greater than 1000 worm eggs per a gram of faeces before they show signs of sickness.
Identify high risk animals
Sheep / goats less than 18 months old have a poor immunity to worms
Poor nutrition leads to poor immunity and increased worm numbers
Pregnant ewes / nannys
HOWEVER all sheep and goats without correct management will develop large worm numbers
Controlling worms in the environment
Large sheep grazing properties decrease the eggs on pasture by
Grazing cattle in sheep paddocks – cattle are resistant to a lot of sheep parasites
Planting cereal crops in sheep paddocks so that the eggs have no animals to infect
However in situations where rotating paddocks is not possible drenching sheep or the use of ‘anthelmintics’ is the only available worm control technique
Worm Drench Resistance
Due to poor management and inappropriate use of worm drenches, worms today have up to a 90% resistance to worming drenches. In cases where the wrong quantity or type of drench has been used a sheep or goat may be excreting worm eggs within three weeks of being drenched. Therefore incorrect chemical selection on your property may be a waste of time, money and lead to the development of drench resistance
To reduce the drench resistance on your property a strategic drenching plan must be developed for your property. This involves
Counting worm eggs within faeces to monitor the worm numbers
Monitoring the weather and paddock conditions to ensure the drench is given at the perfect time to ensure as many worms are killed as possible.
How Vet Cross can help
At Vet Cross we have the facilities to analyze faecal samples from your sheep. Quiet often we find worm eggs in completely healthy, normal sheep allowing you to strategically drench your sheep before they get sick
We also have a wide variety of worm drenches, allowing us to rotate drenches and reduce the risk of worm resistance developing on your property
In consultation with you and by discussing your housing and feeding techniques we can determine the best worming program to ensure your sheep and goats live long, happy and most importantly healthy lives.