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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - February 2021

QLD WormBoss Worm Control Programs

QLD WormBoss Drench Decision Guides

Sheep

Goats

Sheep

Goats

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

There have been showers and storms lasting a few days over the Maranoa, Darling Downs and the Granite Belt regions providing conditions suitable for both blowfly and barber’s pole. At this time of the year and because of the rainfall checking for worms every four weeks using the standard test, the WormTest, will be a good practice.

It’s easy to collect faecal samples for the WormTest. Fresh pellets are best collected from a sheep camp first thing in the morning. Pellets must be recently passed out of sheep (preferably still warm and moist) and quickly dispatched to your local testing laboratory. If you are remote from a testing lab, it might be quicker to check for signs of anaemia in straggler groups of sheep, as stragglers are most susceptible to worms and harbour the heaviest infections. 

Sheep that are anaemic present with lethargy, pale lower inner eyelids, and perhaps bottle jaw. Very anaemic sheep need to be drenched in the paddock where they are and not walked because if forced to move, they can die.

If weaning is underway on your property, the advice is to drench lambs and weaners, but WormTest ewes before drenching and only drench if counts are up. The weaning drench is usually a standard drench and this year, it is warranted on many properties.

An effective short-acting combination drench is a good weaning drench, especially if followed up with a WormTest four weeks later. A long-acting treatment is best reserved for really wet years, or if the only paddocks available to weaners are wormy, because this treatment will provide an extended protection. 

If sheep are wormy four weeks after the drench, then drench resistance needs to be considered. Drench resistance can be checked by using a WormTest taken 10–14 days after drenching and will be a useful guide to whether further testing such as a drench resistance test is in order.

A larval culture can be requested with the WormTest and will provide information on the levels of other worms that may be present. Other worms, such as the black scour worm, are often present at this time of the year. Larval culture results can often be surprising and a reminder that drench resistance may be in only one, or indeed more than one type of worm, and to one or indeed many drenches.

As for flystrike, the factors that attract flies to a sheep are warm temperatures, moderate winds (<30 km per hour) and a fleece that remains moist from rainfall over a few days. Check the Flystrike Risk Simulator to determine your risk of fly this February/March.

For February 2021 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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