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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - March 2015

Perth: Paul Nilon, Nilon Farm Health (pandonilon@bigpond.com)

It is now very dry over most of the state: drier than it has been since the 2006–2009 drought. Nothing desperate. The stock are still in good condition and enjoying the fresh air and scenery as much as the multitudes of tourists that have flooded Tasmania since the drop in the Aussie made overseas travel problematic. Y’all come now.

The worms are very quiet. WECs are low, but trigger levels for a second summer drench have been reached and many people have already given one. This should see adult stock through the autumn, and probably all the way to the pre-lambing drench. Weaners need close monitoring, as always.

The other news is a frost. Not a piddling little one but a ball-tearing minus-4 variety. Admittedly, this was at Laiwenee, which is high and cold, but I suspect that it may have settled over much of the central plateau and the upper Derwent Valley. The import of this is that these are the chronic fluke areas, and a frost slows fluke transmission. If we get a few more in April autumn fluke drenches may be moved forward.

Finally, an appeal to investigate on-going scouring in weaners. If the sheep have been drenched and they are still scouring, chances are it is a bacterial scour. Coccidiosis is over-diagnosed: in reality it is as rare here as common sense at a stag party. The likely culprit is Yersinia, less common findings are Salmonella and Campylobacter. The thing is that none of these infections respond to anthelmintics, and sometimes they can be resistant to sulphadimidine, which is commonly used for coccidiosis. At the very least, get a WEC done to eliminate coccidia.