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1. Is dag an indicator of worm-resistance in sheep?
2. What factors influence the expression of fleece rot?
3. How do lice develop resistance to treatments?
4. What macronutrient is the most important for regulating worm resistance in goats?
Dag resulting from scour worms is not an indicator that the sheep are more or less resistant to worms. It results from a hypersensitivity response in sheep that have previously developed immunity, and who are subject to a larger larval challenge after a period of little challenge (as can occur after the autumn break following a dry summer). Dags can also be the result of other factors unrelated to worm infection, such as nutritional and/or toxin scours from pasture or bacterial and protozoal infections.
Suceptibility to fleece rot is affected by age, conformation (particularly on the neck, shoulders and back that allows water in and delays drying), fleece structure and wool quality (in particular, wool colour). Whatever the combination of factors, the result is a range of fleece rot expression that defines the potential for body strike. Fleece rot scores will be expressed at different levels depending on the current seasonal conditions. In dry seasons and low rainfall environments, lower fleece rot scores are likely to be recorded, regardless of the presence of the risk factors. However there is still the risk of fleece rot and body strike in the event of warm and wet weather.
Within any population of lice there will be some able to withstand higher concentrations of insecticide than others. If lice are exposed to concentrations of insecticide that do not kill all of them, for example by under-dosing or poor application method, the more resistant individuals survive and breed, gradually increasing the level of resistance in the population.
Protein is most important for regulating the resistance of goats to worms. This is largely because worm infection results in goats diverting protein from muscle, fibre growth, and milk production, to the immune inflammatory response in the gut and repair of the damaged gut.