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Answers and links to further information are provided below the image.

Questions

  1. Would you expect to find segments and eggs of the hydatid tapeworm in the dung of sheep?
  2. Do blowflies like warm humid weather or mild dry weather?
  3. If you are aiming to keep your property lice-free, do you assume that sheep you have just purchased are free of lice because the vendor said they had just treated them?
  4. Is BarberVax, the barber’s pole vaccine, registered for use in goats?

Figure 1. Tapeworm segments from Moniezia expansa, the common sheep tapeworm, in sheep dung. These are NOT hydatid tapeworm segments. Image: Deb Maxwell
Figure 1. Tapeworm segments from Moniezia expansa, the common sheep tapeworm, in sheep dung. These are NOT hydatid tapeworm segments. Image: Deb Maxwell

Answers

1. Would you expect to find segments and eggs of the hydatid tapeworm in the dung of sheep?

No, the adult hydatid tapeworm lives in the small intestine of the farm-dog or dingo and produces segments and eggs into the dung of its host dog. After sheep ingest these eggs contaminating pasture, they are infected with the larval cyst stage of the tapeworm, which are usually found in the liver and lungs.

NOTE: The image above shows tapeworm segments in sheep dung, but these are NOT hydatid tapeworm, as the sheep does not have the "worm" stage of the hydatid tapeworm. These are from the common sheep tapeworm which is harmless.

2. Do blowflies like warm humid weather or mild dry weather?

Blowflies have a preference for warm humid weather. Neither do they like excessive heat or very windy weather.

3. If you are aiming to keep your property lice-free, do you assume that sheep you have just purchased are free of lice because the vendor said they had just treated them?

No, a good biosecurity plan must assume that introduced sheep are infested with lice regardless of their treatment history or whether or not there are signs of lice. Your decision on how to manage the introduced sheep will be a personal risk management choice.

4. Is BarberVax, the barber’s pole vaccine, registered for use in goats?

No, it’s not registered for use in goats.

The use of BarberVax (vaccine against barber’s pole) in goats would be “off-label” and must be done with a veterinarian’s prescription. Initially, the vaccine might be evaluated in a small portion of a herd and the worm egg count of treated and untreated animals regularly tested.