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New South Wales worms, flies and lice update - December 2018

NSW WormBoss Worm Control Programs

NSW WormBoss Drench Decision Guides






Central West LLS

Forbes: Nik Cronin, DV ( and Belinda Edmonstone, DV (

Worm test results for the Forbes area have shown that worm egg count levels in sheep are generally not of concern. However, with the continued storm activity producers should be ‘on the lookout’ for increased barber's pole worm activity and WormTest before routinely giving the summer drench.  When monitoring flocks for barber's pole, remember that it causes anaemia with resultant weakness, and possible 'bottle jaw', not scouring.


Riverina LLS

Hay/Griffith:  Dione Howard, DV (

With most areas across the region experiencing summer storms, producers are urged to complete worm egg counts (WEC) in their livestock—now. Where green pasture growth or weeds have developed, paddock conditions are optimal for strongyle-type worm populations to explode. Worm egg counts from the east of our region have shown strongyle-type egg numbers to be at levels requiring treatment. Barber’s pole worms have also been identified in sheep flocks in the areas around Wagga Wagga and Narrandera.

Producers are encouraged to call into their local LLS office and get a few worm test kits for use over the summer period. If you have a stock related parasite question, please give your local district veterinarian a call.


Murray LLS

Albury: Mark Corrigan, DV ( and Eve Hall, DV (


After an unseasonably dry September and October, the eastern areas of the MLLS region received only slightly above-average rainfall in November followed by summer storms with some heavy rain in December. This rain was a continuation of the relatively good season in the Upper Murray and Tumbarumba areas, whereas in other areas, the rain was sufficient to allow lucerne paddocks to flourish. The summer rain also led to some serious issues from toxic summer weeds resulting in the diagnoses of Panic grass associated photosensitisation in lambs. As the sporadic rain events are continuing, regular worm testing remains critical, especially as the winter and spring were dry and grazing pressure may not have allowed weaner paddocks to be adequately prepared to provide good worm control.

Similar rainfall events occurred this time last year and resulted in some parasitic issues including losses due to black scour worms in weaner sheep grazed on poorly prepared weaner paddocks.  Barber’s pole worm also caused some problems in some flocks. WormTests have been infrequently conducted over the last month in the east region. The predominant worm has been black scour worm.


Deniliquin: Scott Ison, DV ( and Linda Searle, DV ( and CSU final year vet student Sara Hodges


In the western part of the MLLS region, very few worm egg counts have been performed over the past month. Test results to date indicate that egg counts are very low and are mostly strongyle-type. Recent storms have resulted in sporadic and isolated rainfall with some areas receiving up to 100 mm of rain. The new pasture growth in the wetter areas combined with the warmer weather may support rising worm burdens. Producers should continue monitoring ewe mobs with WormTests and utilise larval cultures to get an idea of what type of worms are in their sheep before purchasing drenches.


South East LLS

Braidwood: Lou Baskind, DV (


We have only had a few worm egg counts coming in, this month. The most interesting was a sheep enterprise utilising the Barbervax® vaccine protocol. Ewes had an average worm egg count (epg) in the 800s (78% barber’s pole in the larval differentiation) despite starting the Barbervax protocol in July. A reminder that Barbervax is not a “set and forget” system, but rather just another tool in the toolkit. Short pasture and ideal weather conditions for worm development are presenting sheep with a large larval burden, so traditional drenching for barber’s pole may still be required. Keep doing those egg counts!


In the first week of December, a case of parasitic gastroenteritis caused two deaths, and rapid weight loss and scours in several other individuals in a mob of 10-month old weaners. The simultaneous arrival of warm temperatures and rainfall exposed the stock to high larval numbers on the pasture. Maximum daily temperatures for Braidwood were mostly over 25°C from the 19th of October to the 6th of November, and rainfall events of 21 mm and 11 mm occurred on the 18th and 21st of October respectively, creating ideal conditions for worms to flourish. Several other factors are thought to have had an influence, including:

  • The cattle were early-weaned at about four months of age and bought onto the property in July. Early weaned cattle are more susceptible to disease than when weaned later. There may have been resistance to the single active mectin (quarantine) drench used when the stock arrived on the property.
  • The enterprise buys in young weaner heifers and raises them to around 450 kg liveweight for sale. As such, there are no adult stock on the property. The lower immunity of younger cattle allows unchecked development of worms to the adult stage, which then contaminates the pasture with high numbers of worm eggs.
  • Drought and drought feeding will inevitably have contributed to nutritional stress, especially protein malnutrition. Protein contributes to an animal's ability to develop a good immune response.

The mob was treated with a triple oral combination of a mectin, clear and white drench, which also contained a selenium supplement. Scours have resolved and weight gains are back on track. Rotational grazing plans have been tweaked to ensure an adequate spelling period over the hot summer months. 


Yass: Fiona Kelk, DV ( and Alexandra Stephens, DV (

There has been an increase in the number of worm egg counts (WormTests) conducted this month. Some DrenchChecks have also been done to confirm the effectiveness of the drench used and to detect the emergence of possible resistance issues. To set-up a DrenchCheck, a worm egg count is taken on the mob at drenching and repeated 10–14 days after drenching. This is a useful tool if barber’s pole is an issue, and resistance to the drench given may be present.

Worm counts have remained steady, but now they are generally increasing and leading to the need to give the summer drench. On properties where barber’s pole is present, worm egg counts are starting to rise due to the current rainfall events and the warm weather. Barber’s pole is best managed by monitoring every 4–6 weeks with WormTests and being ‘on the watch’ for signs of anaemia.

Nematodirus numbers have also increased as a result of recent rains that have induced the hardy dry-tolerant eggs of this worm to hatch. Some weaner sheep grazing the resultant contaminated short green pick developed scours. They were subsequently drenched and moved onto pastures that in turn became infective.

Coccidial counts have increased, possibly reflecting trail feeding of young weaners on the ground. Producers are encouraged to be ‘on the watch’ for coccidial scours.

Some cases of anaemia have been seen in weaners. It is essential to diagnose the cause of the anaemia as it is seen in a number of infections such as Mycoplasma ovis (the blood parasite), barber’s pole, or liver fluke. Worm egg counts quickly confirm whether worms are involved. 


Central Tablelands LLS

Orange: Nigel Gillan, DV (

In recent weeks, many producers have performed worm egg counts, probably reflecting an awareness of an increasing worm risk following good rainfall. While egg counts have been variable, some very high counts (primarily due to barber's pole, as shown where larval differentiation have been performed) have confirmed that conditions are ideal for egg hatching.

Warm, wet conditions also increase the risk of flystrike. Producers should pay careful attention to both preventative treatments and the management of flystrike cases if they arise. Excellent information and advice are available on the FlyBoss website.


Western LLS

Bourke: Charlotte Cavanagh, DV (,

Producers in this region haven’t submitted any WormTests in the last couple of months. The weather continues to be very dry and is getting very hot. The temperature at Bourke today (December 20, 2018) is expected to reach 47°C. Some moderate levels of coccidial burdens were identified in lambs in feedlots and other hand-feeding situations. These infections have been successfully managed by reducing environmental stressors and improving hygiene.


For December 2018 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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