As the year progresses, it’s time to start thinking about the autumn parasite challenges, we’ve seen some very high worm egg counts this year which could continue into the tupping season. Continuation of the current warm, wet weather could result in us seeing an earlier fluke challenge too.
Sheep scab is caused by Psoroptes ovis, a non-burrowing, surface-feeding mite, costing the UK sheep industry annually around £8.3 million, including £0.8 million in reduced animal performance .
Farmers want a high lambing percentage to increase profits, but poor planning can lead to poor performance. For success in tupping season, plan for healthy pregnancies: adopt a he
althy nutrition plan and assess the body condition of ewes. This will encourage higher ovulation rates, twin and triplet births, and lower rates of aborted pregnancies.
Biosecurity, exotic diseases and supermarket supply chains were at the top of the agenda at the only dedicated one day event for the beef and sheep industry in the UK.
You now have a straightforward way of evaluating the effectiveness of your sheep lameness control strategy, thanks to a useful new flock assessment tool. The practical ‘Lameness Control Planner’ from MSD Animal Health gives you a simple, yet highly visual ‘where are you now’ method of identifying whether your lameness management protocol is unbalanced in any way.
To treat or not to treat?
Should farmers treat their animals? As we move into an increasingly wet and humid summer, do you know the parasite burden in your area? Farmers should be wary that 2016 will not be a repeat of 2015, where parasite burdens were at a record low. In a very short time, Zoetis have seen full fly traps pretty much everywhere, starting very early in Dorset and then moving up the country and Nematodirus showing a very similar pattern, with high counts early in the season. Other diseases, such as Coccidiosis, have shown to have had a big impact on lamb rearing. To read the June addition of Parasite Watch, click here.
Evidence-based help from #parasitewatch
Clearly, effective control of internal parasites, without spending money unnecessarily on over-using wormers, can help improve lamb growth rates and get them away early. As previewed in the previous Zoetis newsletter, a localised early warning system using farm-based intelligence hotspots to help sheep farmers make more timely, evidence-based parasite control decisions has been launched by Zoetis.
Parasite Watch is based on a nationwide network of farms providing diagnostic samples through the summer. From these, real time information is available to farmers about parasite challenges in their local area. The system is already generating live information on the challenge from four key parasite types:
- Gastrointestinal worms – regular faecal egg counts (FECs) and growth rate monitoring to check for the onset of parasitic gastroenteritis.
- Nematodirus – regular FECs, weather data and other sources to give an indication of disease risk on sentinel farms.
- Liver Fluke – using risk and weather data, coupled with regular sampling on Parasite Watch farms, to provide early notice of predictable threats.
- Flies – data from Parasite Watch farms to prompt early warnings, possibly before it is noticeable around livestock, that fly populations are multiplying quickly.
Zoetis veterinary consultant, Dave Armstrong, says the aim of Parasite Watch is to promote timely decisions by farmers, in conjunction with their SQP animal health adviser or vet, to treat or indeed not treat.
The data collection process is led by Zoetis vets, who will also provide commentary and early warnings of parasite outbreaks and advice on challenges that could threaten sheep wellbeing and productivity.
In addition to data, Mr Armstrong says Parasite Watch farmers have also agreed to share their observations via Twitter. “Our aim is to create a resource of real-world and real-time sheep farming information that can help improve health and welfare decisions, and sheep enterprise productivity,” he says.
An advisory blog has also been created here where surveillance results and topical guidance will be posted. One of its early postings says, “2015 was a record low year for parasite outbreaks, but 2016 is unlikely to be the same. It is crucial not to get complacent.”
If you have any concerns about the parasite numbers in your area and are looking for effective solutions to protect your flock, speak to your local SQP animal health advisor in store today.
For further information please contact your veterinary surgeon, SQP or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7NS. Customer Support 0845 3008034. www.zoetis.co.uk. Always seek the advice of your medicines provider. Use medicines responsibly AH152/16.
Stay on top of fly populations on farm to protect livestock productivity and welfare
Flies can be a costly nuisance to the UK’s cattle and sheep population. In addition to the irritation caused, flies can also transmit a number of diseases, causing both financial and welfare concerns. An effective plan for control should be implemented to control the seasonal surge in fly population numbers, and prevent the development of associated diseases and related productivity challenges caused by these parasites. Fly problems can occur any time between April and November, depending on weather conditions and geography.
There are many risks of not treating flies and external parasites on cattle and sheep, which include reduced milk yields of up to 20%1, increased incidence of summer mastitis, reduced calf weight gain and reduced reproduction in sheep.
In addition, flies are implicated in a variety of serious diseases, for example they can transmit New Forest eye in cattle and sheep.
Did you know?
- It only takes 10-20 head flies to have a negative economic impact on farm2.
- The horn fly will feed on blood from cattle up to 40 times per day – this could lead to blood loss and constant irritation for the animal2.
The Spot-on Solution for Cattle and Sheep
Spotinor is a Deltamethrin spot on treatment which is easy to apply and the simple dosing negates the need to weigh animals before treatment and so saves time and labour. It is barely absorbed through the skin; 72% of the active ingredient remains on the skin of the animal, in the place where it is needed most.
Spotinor Features and Benefits
- Easy dosing- no need to weigh
- One product for cattle, sheep and lambs
- Aids prevention of ticks in young lambs
- Options for dosing- squeeze pack or backpack and gun
- Zero milk withdrawal in cattle
- 17 day meat withhold for cattle
- 35 day meat withhold for sheep
For more information on Spotinor, please contact your local SQP in store or speak to your local Wynnstay representative.
1 Taylor, B.D. et al. Economic Impact of Stable flies (Diptera Muscidae) on Dairy and Beef Cattle production. J. Med. Entomol 2012, 49(1)
2 Walt, R. and Shearer, D. Veterinary ectoparasites, second edition (2001)
Written by: Ceri Jones
Information provided by Norbrook Animal Health
One thing’s certain about 2016 worm threat: It’s unpredictable!
From most areas of the UK, feedback suggests that last year was one with low to moderate roundworm burdens, according to Zoetis vet Dave Armstrong. “Where this was identified using good diagnostics,” he says, “economies from using fewer wormer treatments were possible with manageable risk rather than a fingers crossed approach.