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

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Central West LLS

Coonamble: Jillian Kelly, DV (

The drought has worsened and almost all stock are being fully hand fed in the Coonamble district.  There have been no crops planted, and unless it rains immediately, there will be none.  Morale is low and landholders are worried about ongoing feed availability and how long this might continue.  Very few WormTests have been performed in sheep. Those that have been performed show low faecal egg counts.

Malnourished cattle post mortemed lately have shown thickened abomasums indicating Ostertagia burdens.  A drench is indicated for weaners and adult cattle that are drought-affected. This could be timed with a lousicide treatment as cattle are noticeably lousy and rubbing at the moment.

Dubbo: Evelyn Walker, DV (

Around the Dubbo area I am seeing low worm egg counts present in sheep, and am hearing verbal reports of worm burdens and lice infestations in young cattle. Reports have consisted of rubbing, diarrhoea and bottle jaw in affected young cattle. I have seen a number of malnourished sheep, and sheep going backwards as they also battle medium to heavy lice burdens. I believe the poor nutrition and stress brought on by the drought conditions have contributed to the increased prevalence of lice. 

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

There have been few WormTests conducted in the Forbes area this month. 

Worm burdens in sheep can be quite variable depending on the drench history and the conditions they have been subjected to. The dry conditions will have certainly been affecting worm egg survival and hatching in the environment, but in the absence of a good drench history, it would still be worthwhile for producers to conduct worm tests to ensure that a subclinical worm burden is not affecting production in their sheep flocks. High-risk groups include weaners and pregnant and lactating ewes, but nutritional stress in any sheep can also make them more susceptible to worms. 


North West LLS

Northern Slopes: Ted Irwin, DV (

I have seen one or two worm egg count results showing counts in the thousands of eggs per gram (epg). I also investigated a case in which a wether had died from Mycoplasma ovis infection. It had a concurrent worm infection of 3,000 epg and there were obvious numbers of Haemonchus worms in the abomasum. The case was confusing for a while as I generally associate deaths from Haemonchus infections when worm egg counts are up around 10,000 epg not 3,000 epg.

Like everyone else, we are just waiting for rain.

Moree: Justine McNally, DV (

A few quite heavy infections of barber’s pole were identified through worm testing that were quite surprising. The odd area in the region received a shower of rain and the resulting short green pick was obviously heavily contaminated. 

One WormTest taken 16 days after a Rametin/Duocare drench showed a moderate average worm egg count of around 800 eggs per gram and at first glance, drench resistance might be considered a possibility. However, the individual worm egg counts ranged from 0–4,000 eggs per gram so the most likely explanation is that at least one sheep in the mob missed being drenched. When this drench combination is used again, a DrenchCheck should be conducted to confirm its resistance status.

It has really only become cool to cold during the past 3–4 weeks, so the Haemonchus infections are likely to reduce.
(Editor’s note: It is recommended that a DrenchCheck test is done at exactly 14 days post-drenching.)


Murray LLS

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


There have been no reports of clinical internal parasite cases in the east of the region. Limited WormTest submissions have shown mostly low worm egg counts, although larval culture from one mob on a property in the Holbrook area showed 54% barber’s pole worm. Given the poor autumn and tight start to winter, producers are urged to make sure they are regularly monitoring with WormTests, especially if there have been constraints around preparing low-worm risk paddocks going into weaning, and spring lambing.

Deniliquin: Scott Ison, DV ( and Linda Searle, DV (


The west of our region has had a particularly dry autumn and as we go into winter we expect to see relatively low worm burdens. There have not been any reports of clinical internal parasite cases. A mob of rams had an average count of 156 strongyle eggs per gram, two thirds were black scour worm and one third was brown stomach worm. Another submission from rams had zero eggs per gram.

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