The best time for sheep drenching
Think Livestock specialise in the sale of drenching and vaccination equipment. As responsible suppliers of this specialised animal healthcare equipment, they believe that the job of drenching sheep needs to be handled in a scientifically sound manner.
As such, they have aligned themselves with StockWatch, a company which offers a testing service to determine the need for and best timing for drenching.
StockWatch report that conditions this summer are set for massive losses due to parasites. They are receiving many samples from growers who are concerned about their stock.
In most cases internal parasites of some variety are causing the problem. Young stock are most at risk. They are trying to develop and grow and at the same time putting huge energy into combating parasites.
The mix of parasites at this time of year is also a factor. Barbers Pole Worm is very active given the warm wet nature of this summer. Barbers Pole acts differently to Black Scour and Brown Stomach worms, which rob nutrients directly and damage intestinal tissue.
Barbers Pole are blood suckers. They can take massive amounts of blood in a day and deaths can be sudden particularly in lambs where this can be a large percentage of their total blood. In the lab, when see egg counts of 2000 epg and above are present, It is a safe bet that Barbers Pole are well up their in the mix.
As mentioned, some farmers are reporting stock separating themselves from the mob, being lethargic and hard to move. In addition, after moving to yards, some losses are occurring.
Prior to harvest, many farmers crutched their sheep and treated with “Click” (for fly control, for example). This is good management but the prolonged grain harvest has meant growers are only now getting a chance to have a good look at their sheep. Some are finding they have gone backwards and they have had losses.
In summary, StockWatch advises:
- Worm tests to see if stock need drenching. Testing is cheap, it can save lots of money and save lost production. It is as simple as sending them a small sample of dung.
- If putting stock onto “clean pastures” i.e. stubbles consider a drench prior. This will ensure they go on ‘clean’. Then worm test latter to see how they are going.
- Don’t wait until signs (i.e. scouring or wasting are visible) – by then a lot of damage is done. Scouring is not always caused by worms. Some other nasties like coccidia can affect young stock. We are seeing higher levels than would be expected at this time due to the conditions.
- A worm test showing low levels is not a waste of money. It is simply a great result, saves a drench and eliminates worms as a cause of a problem so the client can concentrate on finding the real problem if one exists.
- Look for symptoms, scouring, wasting, amenia (i.e. blood loss), have a look under the eyelids and inside gums to see if stock are anaemic. They will be pale and have slow capillary refill when pressed, possibly indicating Barbers Pole.
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