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Australia's resource for control of worms, flies and lice in sheep,
and worms in goats

Fast Fact: Exotic, not Erotic!

Introduction by Paul NIlon, Nilon Farm Health

Psoroptes ovis is a devastating mite that infects sheep in many countries, and on most continents except Australia, where it was successfully eradicated in the 1800s after causing extensive disease in the young colony's sheep population. With the colloquial name of sheep scab, it’s unlikely to be confused with any disease contracted through nefarious activities while in Thailand. You can get a good summary of sheep scab here. You can read that it causes itchiness that is so severe it results in production losses and animal welfare issues. In Australia, it would be a catalyst for flystrike. Like lice, most spread is via direct contact with infected sheep. Unlike lice, it can survive environmentally for up to 17 days, and it can be transmitted on contaminated clothing. Therefore, if you have been visiting cousin Dai’s sheep farm in Wales make sure you wash your clothes before returning to Australia. 

Feature articles

10 o'clock after a cuppa 

Introduction by Paul NIlon, Nilon Farm Health

When asked the best time to mark, wean, drench or shear my answer is always the same: ten o’clock after a cup of tea (see June edition). The point is that there is rarely a simple answer, and the right answer for you may be a SNAFU for your neighbour. When delivering workshops and even when working with single clients, the emphasis is on basic knowledge so that when parameters change the client can be up and running by drawing on first principles. Basic understanding of worm biology is now pretty good. Not so, fly biology. So, in order to get your mind round the basics (species, life cycle and the all-important environmental considerations) take a look at this article by Garry Levot from NSW. >> Read more.

How safely do you operate?

Introduction by Paul NIlon, Nilon Farm Health

This piece could well be written under flies or worms: it’s just that it lives on the ParaBoss site under lice, presumably because of the chemicals that are used for lice, and their methods of application. This article gives a great rundown on chemical safety germane to lice, but the principles are equally applicable to using fly control chemicals. While chemical storage and use are way safer than they were even 15 years ago, some fly and lice products are potentially lethal, so take a few minutes to review how to handle them and protect your staff and yourself. >> Read more.

Why strategic worm treatments are critical

Introduction by Paul NIlon, Nilon Farm Health

By the time you read this, the AFL and ARL finals will have come and gone, our chances in the rugby world cup will be slim and cricket will not have started. So, to fill in the evenings you should return to the 2018 Paraboss Conference lecture wherein Drs Besier, Kahn and Webb Ware discuss all things wormy. In the June edition, I referenced the section by Lewis Kahn dealing with prevention with genetics, IPM and vaccines. In the next section (17:00-32:20) the presenters talk strategic drenching and how/why it varies across Australia and (importantly) the effect of strategic drenches on resistance. Producers and advisers in other countries would gladly sacrifice a gonad (sans Numnuts) to get such good info. Imbibe and enjoy. >> Read more.

Goat Busters, who you gonna call?  

Introduction by Paul NIlon, Nilon Farm Health

The WormBoss information on goats, added in 2016, nestles within the sheep pages. This is because sheep and goats share the same worms. However, this report has repeatedly drawn attention to the differences between sheep and goats: most notably goats’ lesser immune response to worms and their capacity to metabolise drenches faster. Another difference is the lack of human resources available to discuss your goat problems. Every state has one or more resident sheep worm experts (see the list here). Goat producers have Sandra Baxendell. Well, there are a few others, but Sandra consults and trains Australia wide, and has an international reputation. She was a major contributor to the WB goat pages, and we are lucky to have her as a member of the Paraboss Technical Committee. As far back as 1987, Sandra wrote a short book for the Veterinary Post Graduate Committee on goat health. You can contact Sandra via her webpage or on Facebook page. Both pages contain a raft of info worth browsing. The thing to remember is that WWW is ‘diseased’ with sites offering advice on goats. Much of it is at best experiential (or just a repeat of someone else’s experience). At worst, it can be plain wrong or driven by an agenda (selling a product or production system). Sandra is the real, independent deal. >> Read more.

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Sheep scab-don't bring it back with you. Source: NADIS.
Paul Nilon: 10 o'clock after a cuppa tea
How safely do you operate?
Why and when to strategic drench
Sandra Baxendell is behind much of the WormBoss goat information
ParaBoss on Facebook