That doughy lump under the jaw may look like fluke, but it could be due to worms, or photosensitisation. While scouring is usually associated with scour worms, it is also associated with coccidial infections. The value of a thorough investigation before undertaking drenching has been highlighted this month by a number of contributors.
Very high burdens of both barber’s pole and black scour worms are present in sheep and goats in some regions. Flukes, flies and grass seeds have become a high priority, and cases of lungworm have been identified in the Murray LLS region.
The climate this summer is very different to that of last year, and it is imperative that producers take steps to manage their sheep, lambs in particular, to ensure worms do not impact on production. Most lambs should be monitored every 2–3 weeks at least.
The key is to drench at the most appropriate time for the different classes of sheep, and to always use a fully-effective drench. Regardless of the resistance risk, young sheep (this and last-years lambs) are likely to be carrying significant worm burdens in early summer and need to be drenched.
Monitor weaned lambs relentlessly: every 3 weeks, and whenever you see a scant black scour on the hocks, as cool, moist summers equal black scour worms. But also be on the alert for barber’s pole worm and fly.
Worm egg counts have been high enough to warrant drenching, and to also conduct drench resistance tests. Weaned prime lambs (or those still on their mothers after 14 weeks) are a susceptible class of stock that need ongoing monitoring for worms and flystrike.