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Victoria worm, flies and lice update - May 2014

Hamilton: Andrew Whale, Livestock Logic (

Recent Results

The last 10 days in the South West have been incredibly warm and it is hard to believe that we are about to head into winter. Good rains last month got our season away, but some more rain while soil temperatures are still reasonable would be great prior to the winter setting in.

The following table represents sheep that have had counts greater than 200 epg from Livestock Logic Worm Laboratory in May up until 21st May 2014

Class of Sheep

% Requiring Drenching

Mature Age Sheep


Maidens/Hoggets 2012 Drop


Weaners 2013 drop



As we typically see, the younger sheep have higher egg counts and priority in monitoring on your property should be placed on younger sheep.

We have had our first few cases of mortality due to intestinal parasitism. In one property it was weaners south of Hamilton that were dying within 25 days of an effective drench, they have had green grass most of the summer so paddocks are highly contaminated. This is a good reminder that if weaners start to crash 3–4 weeks post drench then paddocks must be highly contaminated and it is likely that until the spring they will require that frequency of drenching.

Looking Forward

As we get into winter, the need for regular monitoring becomes more important and I expect we will see increasing numbers of weaner losses due to intestinal worms through June and July. Producers need to stay on the ball with all mobs, but particularly weaners, and monitor regularly and drench when egg counts get to 250–300epg. If there is illthrift or scours without an elevated egg count then have a vet perform an examination/autopsy on a lamb to develop the best plan of action.

The following are guidelines to winter WEC monitoring

  • Lambs: Test 5 weeks post drench, fortnightly thereafter.
  • Mature sheep: Test 6–8 weeks post drench, every 4–5 weeks thereafter.
  • Pregnant ewes: Aim for an egg count 2–3 weeks prior to lambing, the history of their recent egg counts can be a good guide as to the level of paddock contamination and thus likely worm pickup over lambing.


Benalla: Tricia Veale (

We have had good rains in this part of North Eastern Victoria! There was a total of 113 mm for April and 22mm so far for May, with dark clouds currently building up. The dams fortunately are quite full and the grass is growing so well and animals have plenty of fodder. Farmers are very relieved and many have planted their crops in this good season.

Worm egg counts in sheep, goats and young cattle are increasing, with moderate counts in some places and higher ones elsewhere. Mainly the counts are around of 200–400 eggs per gram of dung (epg).

Liver Fluke, Fasciola hepatica, are also appearing again on those properties where they are present. There have been quite a number of positive Liver Fluke egg counts. So if there has been a history of Liver Fluke on your property then now is the time to drench the animals.

Some farmers have suggested that the fluke drench is not working in their cattle. In most of these cases a test has revealed that there are no Liver Fluke eggs present but there are eggs of the Stomach Fluke, Paramphistomum sp. These flukes can cause scouring and poor condition in the tail of the mob. There have also been Stomach Fluke detected on a small number of sheep properties.

Check the worm egg counts and for the presence of fluke before drenching.

Editor's note: Tricia also reports that low to moderate numbers of eggs of Moniezia spp., the sheep Tapeworm, are now being seen. There is no consistent evidence that they cause production loss or ill-health, even in large numbers. Therefore, treatment for tapeworms is not warranted. >>Further information on tapeworms.


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