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Questions

  1. Which age of sheep are most prone to hypersensitivity scours and why?
  2. What is the best (most accurate) and alternative ways to select rams for less wrinkle?
  3. When can two lice treatments be mixed together?
  4. Are there times when drenches don’t improve anaemia and FAMACHA scores in 2 weeks?

Answers

1. Which age of sheep are most prone to hypersensitivity scours and why?

Hypersensitivity typically occurs in the winter and spring months, in animals that have developed their adult worm immunity, and is most evident in mature ewes or wethers. In south-east Australia scouring occurs in a large proportion of some flocks (30–40%) every year, and may last for 3–4 months. In Mediterranean climatic zones, hypersensitivity scouring usually occurs after the relatively worm-free period of summer and autumn, after sheep are re-exposed to worm larvae. The occurrence between flocks and years varies considerably, and it generally lasts for only 4–6 weeks in a particular flock.

2. What is the best (most accurate) and alternative ways to select rams for less wrinkle?

Preferably your ram breeder can provide ASBVs for wrinkle.

a) If no ASBVs are available for wrinkle—ask the ram breeder to provide breech or body wrinkle scores for the rams you are inspecting.

b) If no wrinkle scores are available, and breech wrinkle has been removed by mulesing—make a preliminary assessment for wrinkle using neck wrinkle and body wrinkle. 

c) Consider changing to another ram source if your current ram breeder cannot supply rams that meet your needs.

3. When can two lice treatments be mixed together?

Under no circumstance should products be mixed or label rates altered in an attempt to improve the effectiveness of lice control. There are many different effective products from a number of different chemical groups currently available on the market. Mixing chemicals or increasing rates will not make up for a failure in lice biosecurity or inadequacies in application technique.

Product formulation is very important for effectiveness. Mixing two products can alter the formulation, potentially making one or both components less effective.

4. Are there times when drenches don’t improve anaemia and FAMACHA scores in 2 weeks?

Yes. Only anaemia caused by barber’s pole worm and liver fluke are responsive to (appropriate) drenches. Other causes of anaemia include:

  • Re-infection: Massive numbers of infective barber’s pole worm larvae on heavily contaminated paddocks can continue to cause anaemia and potentially death
  • Low protein levels in feed
  • Sucking lice
  • Copper or cobalt deficiency
  • Blood parasites
  • Johne’s disease

Also, ineffective treatment of barber’s pole worm and liver fluke can result in continued anaemia when the worms/fluke are resistant to the drench used or the drench—in the case of fluke—is not effective against the younger fluke stages.