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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - November 2018

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

Over the last few weeks many areas have, at long last, had some rain after a very long, dry spring. With a little bit of moisture around from storms this month, barber’s pole worms could become active, especially if there is any follow-up rain.

When sheep and goats are forced to graze short pastures, the number of larvae consumed usually increases because larvae tend to concentrate at the base of pasture plants. Sheep are also predisposed to overgrazing selected areas of the pasture, even when other pasture is available, and it is this grazing behaviour that contributes to picking up worm infestations.

With the hot drying winds currently being experienced and the soaring temperatures, worm eggs and larvae out on the paddock would be struggling to remain alive unless in some sheltered spot.

Lambs, kids and weaners are usually drenched in November, as are adult sheep and goats, but this year it would be wise to WormTest the adult animals before drenching to confirm their need for a drench.

When drenching lambs and weaners, try to plan ahead and have two worm test kits on hand to check worm egg counts when young animals are in the yards for drenching, and then again from the paddock 2 weeks (10–14 days) later (no need for a second yarding). Take before- and after-drench faecal samples, and compare the results. This will give you an indication of how well the drench has worked for you.

There are fewer drenches registered for goats than there are for sheep and while many sheep drench products are commonly used in goats,  an “off label” use should be obtained from your veterinarian, who can also advise on suitable dose rates and the use of drenches in worm control programs.