BEEF Controlling worms and fluke at housing should be considered to reduce problems next spring. Sara Gregson reports.
Time is right to treat parasites
ousing is a good time to sort out parasite problems in beef and dairy cattle as they can be treated and cleared of infection before turnout next year, says Prof Jacqueline Matthews of the Moredun Research Institute. Prof Matthews, a member of the Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS) knowledge transfer group, says: “There is a real risk of type two ostertagiosis in youngstock this
winter, following the summer drought and subsequent wet conditions across much of the country. “This disease is caused by larvae of the stomach worm which are eaten in autumn as the days become shorter and temperatures fall. These larvae do not immediately develop into adult worms, as they would earlier in the season. “The larvae hibernate for a few months until late winter, when they resume development after an, as yet unknown, trigger. The simultaneous
emergence of a high number of stomach wall worms can cause acute disease, particularly in calves after their first season grazing. It can be fatal.” Prof Matthews suggests the best way to avoid this is to treat youngstock at housing with a Group 3 macrocyclic lactone (ML) product to kill off the inhibited Ostertagia larvae. This will have the added benefit that calves will not contaminate pastures with worm eggs when they go out next year.
Gut worms Adult cows should not require treatment for gut worms at housing, but they may benefit if they are in poor condition. Diagnostic aids, such as blood and milk tests, can help see if treatment is needed. Farmers should talk to their vet or suitably
qualified person about which tests are most suitable and the results of any that are carried out. There is no natural cattle immunity to liver fluke and all ages of stock can be at risk. It is important to look at several factors to assess
Herd health plans ■ Parasite control programmes should be part of every herd health plan. Talk to the vet about risks and treatments every year ■ Do not do what has always been done, as this may encourage
buildup of worms resistant to current treatments ■ Find out more at the new Control of Worms Sustainably website cattleparasites.org.uk and on Twitter @COWSWorms
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