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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - August 2017

Brisbane: Maxine Murphy, Veterinary Parasitologist (maxine@paraboss.com.au)

Western and southern Queensland are still suffering dry conditions. Temperatures (daily maximums) are already quite warm for this time of the year. 

The key concern this month is the pre-lambing drench, which in Your Program is considered to be a routine drench for this class of stock on the tablelands and slopes, but not for sheep on the lower rainfall slopes and plains. For sheep in these regions a routine WormTest is recommended.  These measures are especially important if the lambing paddocks have not been adequately prepared or the feed on offer is poor. The least contaminated lambing paddocks that also have the most feed on offer should be reserved for the most susceptible lambing ewes i.e. maidens, twin-bearers, oldest ewes and earlier lambing ewes.

The worm challenge typically rises at this time of year if significant rains occur and lambing ewes, which experience a temporary loss of immunity during lactation, become wormy and contribute to large increases in larval contamination of paddocks, and in turn become a source of ongoing infection for themselves and their lambs. Actively growing green grass indicates there is sufficient moisture for barber’s pole eggs to hatch so worm testing every 4–6 weeks (4 weeks for good, and 6 weeks for lower amounts of rain) over spring and summer, should then be a matter of routine.

In the run-up to lambing, lack of nutrition in ewes can compromise good body condition and lead to heavier worm burdens.

If you do drench, use a short-acting, multi-active combination treatment known to be effective on your property. This means two worm tests (typically referred to as the DrenchCheck) with the first worm test conducted just prior to treating sheep, and the second, 14 days after the treatment.  If the drench is giving the 98% required reduction of the worm burden, the post drench worm egg counts will be < 100 eggs per gram (epg).