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New South Wales worm update - June 2013

Stephen Love, Veterinarian, State Coordinator-Internal Parasites, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Armidale (

Seasonal conditions in NSW over the last 6-9 months have been highly variable with, in some areas, a very dry Spring and early Summer, followed by a wet late Summer, then a very dry Autumn, succeeded  more recently by above average rain.

Worm egg counts across the state have likewise been highly variable.

In June for example, WECs ranged from zero to several thousand (strongyle) eggs per gram of faeces.

The remedy: a sensible program of WormTesting (monitoring worm egg counts). By the time sheep are obviously wormy, the horse has half bolted. Don't guess, WormTest.

How do you go about WormTesting?:  Go to WormBoss (, then to Your Program. Or, type 'WormTest' into the search box.

If and when you drench, check the drench worked:
Go to

The most expensive drench is that one that doesn't work.

You might say 'But all that WormTesting is too expensive!'  Really? See this article:

Sometimes you have to spend and plan in order to save.

When you've done all that, kick back, relax and listen to the WormBoss song. See - bottom right of the homepage.

If you don't like ‘Country’, even with Arthur Le Feuvre as the lead singer, we are working on additional versions by The Dead Kennedys, Beyonce etc."


Lachlan LHPA

Belinda Edmonstone and Nik Cronin, Forbes (  (

In the central area of the Lachlan LHPA there were 12 worm test performed for the month of June with average faecal egg counts ranging from 0-3508.

Individual counts range from 0 – 11000.

The much welcomed rain has seen an increase incidence in worm related issues.

Losses in ewes with lambs at foot from a pure Barbers Pole worm infestation were a result of an infestation due to moxidectin resistant Barbers Pole worm.

With increased drench resistance occurring, producers really need to know which drenches are performing on their property.

To do this, Drench Check or do some Drench Resistance Testing.

Kasia Hunter, Condobolin (

In the western area of the Lachlan LHPA no WormTests were conducted during the past month. No clinical cases of parasite-related stock health issues have been observed. However with recent rain across the area it would be prudent to conduct a WormTest 4 – 6 weeks after any significant rain events on your property, as rain can trigger the emergence of infective larvae from worm eggs in the environment. Relatively warm daytime temperatures combined with recent rainfall could result in a sudden and dramatic increase in worm burdens. Recent abattoir surveillance data on sheep from this area suggests that lungworm is present on some properties and should be considered when planning drench treatments. Lungworms cause irritation to the airways leading to coughing and weight loss. The presence of these parasites can also predispose to the development of pneumonia.

Central West LHPA

Evelyn Walker, Dubbo (Evelyn

There have been no WormTests received from Dubbo. However, there have been WormTest results received from surrounding areas including Geurie, Wellington, Gilgandra, Mendooran, and Dunedoo. Worms, especially the Barber’s pole worm is still hanging around. Average egg counts have ranged from 0 to as high as 6,408. The predominant worm species is still the Barber’s pole worm. Properties with the highest worm egg counts are from pregnant and lactating ewes and weaner lambs.  Because of lowered immunity, these particular sheep are at greatest risk.  Many Producers are starting to lamb in the next few months, so it would be a good idea to see where your worm egg counts are at on your property.

New England LHPA

Andrew Biddle, Glen Innes (

From the North of the Northern Tablelands (Glen Innes) the temperature and nutritional decline into winter has flushed out a number of classic multifactorial ill thrift cases in young and not so young sheep.

In cases seen so far the triggers have been fluke and some quite average worm counts. These were in turn overlayed with cocciodia, mycoplasma ovis and bacterial enteritis.

Interestingly the parasite burdens that triggered these cases have included a component of emerging drench resistance as each farmer believed they were using a previously effective drench.

The fluke based case is being followed up for possible Triclabendazole resistance.

Tablelands LHPA

Bill Johnson, Goulburn, (

Just when you think worms have gone quiet, there’s another small flock of lambing ewes affected by Barber’s pole worms. The lambs on the ewes looked well, all twins. But the ewes themselves had lost a lot of weight, and were becoming very weak. They had worm egg counts in the tens of thousands.

Most other flocks in the district are faring much better as we approach the peak lambing period. If you are confident about your paddock selection for lambing, giving a pre-lamb drench is not necessary. Such a paddock would have adequate feed, and only grazed by Summer-drenched and monitored low-count adult sheep since February.

Unfortunately the requirement for the lambing paddock to have “adequate feed” rules a lot of us out, so consider drenching pre-lambing unless monitoring egg counts are very low.

The next month to six weeks is crucial for last year’s lambs as well. Every year we see Merino weaner mobs fall in a heap during July and August. The period combines poor pasture growth and peak scour worm hatching. It can be hard to pick from a distance that sheep with more than six months wool are doing it tough, until losses occur. Body condition scores and worm egg counts help predict the need for more feed or more drench, or both.

Few stock owners have taken up our offer to help collect blood samples for liver fluke testing, so there must be very few sheep and cattle grazing paddocks with swamps, creeks or springs. Liver fluke levels have increased since the drought, and cases of weight loss and deaths have occurred. Drenching to remove liver fluke in winter is an important part of controlling this parasite, if present.

Jim McDonald, Yass (

The Yass District received good June rain and is returning to green as lambing begins.

Worm counts have been varied from the lows of 40-80 epg in the majority of enterprises with the occasional peak of 2000 epg in mature ewes.

Clinical Barbers pole was a feature on one property where losses had just begun.  Classical severe anaemia, bottle jaw and masses of BPW in abomasums, something I was not expecting this late in the season.

These young ewes were set stocked in a paddock since treatment in February.  Occasional worm egg testing would have picked this up well before problems occurred.

Pre-lamb treatments will now be on the radar for most sheep producers and without really strong worm egg count histories it will be dangerous to assume ewes can skip this treatment this year.

South East LHPA

Bob Templeton, LHPA DV, Braidwood (

The cold weather seems to have slowed the worms down somewhat.  However, the rise of drench resistance has kept some worm population alive when the producers thought they were removed.  I have found resistance to Abermectin and Ivomectin recently.  In both cases Barbers pole was the worm in large numbers and caused a lot of havoc.  A few WormTests have shown small numbers of Barbers pole and Black scour worm.

Recent abattoir surveillance reports have found a surprising level of liver fluke infection in sheep from the Braidwood area.  Perhaps too much attention has been given to Barbers pole worm?


Tony Morton, Wagga Wagga (; Amy Shergold, Wagga Wagga. (

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at CSU reports counts are generally rising with the improved seasonal conditions. They further commented that counts are very variable from mob to mob on the same farm.

Lambs on a farm between Gundagai and Wagga Wagga had average counts of 7,767 epg with a range of 640 to 23,400 epg. No larval cultures were undertaken but the results strongly suggest  Barber’s pole worms, unusual  for this time of the year. A short acting, narrow spectrum drench such as Napthalophos should clean out any Barber’s pole worms.

Some significant counts with Small brown stomach worms and Black scour worms were seen in some well managed flocks. June/July/August is the peak time for larval availability for these species so monitoring through this period is very important.

Cattle news:Ivermectin resistant worms were diagnosed when 10 days post backline treatment there were egg counts averaging 182 epg.  A further treatment with Cydectin LA or Eclipse still left a few cattle with very low counts 14 days post treatment.

Riverina LHPA

Gabe Morrice, Narrandera: (;

No WormTests have been conducted in this area over the past month.

Merino ewes at the point of lambing on limited pasture had worm egg counts of 1280 and 3040. Larval differentials showed that these sheep had 70% Trichostrongylus and 30% Ostertagia spp.

Dan Salmon, Deniliquin (

There has been no clinical disease reported but quite a bit of enquiry about drenching strategies for lambing ewes.

There have been only two WormTests. Old lambs drenched last year with worm egg count averages below 100 epg.

Colin Peake, Hay; (;

Only one test received in the western Riverina LHPA – flock of weaners in poor condition due to the dry conditions/drought. Numbers are not excessive but high enough in this case to cause clinical disease and deaths.

Egg counts were 440epg for strongyles – 97% trich’s (Black scour worm) and 80 epg for Nematodirus (Thin necked intestinal worm).

It has been very quiet due to the dry conditions with sheep doing it tough.

Now that we have had good rain over the whole region, sheep will be chasing the fresh green pick so producers need to vigilant and do WormTests if at all concerned, as we know sheep are more susceptible to worms when they are in poor condition.

North West LHPA

Fiona Fishpool, LHPA, Moree (

There is little change in the North-West since June with no reports of worms due to the drier and cooler conditions. However, Winter conditions have been relatively mild so far which will allow larvae to survive on pasture. Early Spring is the next likely risk period and a good practice will be to use an effective long acting against Haemonchus in early October and or monitor from then on for a Spring rise.

For June 2013 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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