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Victoria worm update - October 2012

Tricia Veale, Benalla, (triciav7@bigpond.com):

We have had only a small amount of rain in North Eastern Victoria, with 15mm for the whole of September and a better 35mm so far for October. Dams are fortunately still full. Some areas are terribly dry, with farmers being very concerned about crop survival.

Many farmers are routinely testing their sheep, which helps to avoid unnecessary drenching. Worm numbers are still at moderate-high levels in most areas. It’s a good idea to check this by getting worm egg counts done before drenching.

If you are on a property where there is a history of Liver Fluke being present, get this tested as they are still active in many places.

Tapeworm cysts from Bladder worm (Cysticercus Tenuicollis) have been found in some sheep carcasses. Dogs acquire this tapeworm by eating sheep offal that contains the cysts. Dogs pass tapeworm segments containing thousands of eggs onto the paddock, where the sheep consume them with the grass, so ensure that your dogs are not fed fresh sheep meat.

Problems have arisen on some local properties, where sheep from dry areas have been introduced onto damp paddocks. They very soon pick up worms and the immature stages cannot easily be recognised by faecal egg counts.

Barber's pole worm (Haemonchus Contortus) is now active, and is not being identified early enough. The mature worms lay thousands of eggs that allow numbers to build up very quickly. This worm lives in a sheep's stomach and sucks blood, causing anaemia and weight loss.

A total worm count from the intestines of a dead animal will give an indication of the worm burden.