Internal Parasite Monitoring

The use of worming products in cattle and sheep over the years has led to internal parasites (worms) developing anthelmintic resistance to wormers. This has largely been due to repeated internal parasite exposure to the drugs leading to genetic selection of internal parasites able to withstand the treatment. As a result, many of the current worming products available have become less effective in treating parasite burdens in livestock.

Internal parasites will not only cause disease and weight loss in heavy burdens but lower burdens can also lead to reduced growth rates in youngstock. Having a resistant parasite population on pasture will mean that treatment with an anthelmintic product will not improve growth rates or prevent disease.

There is extensive work to develop new anthelmintic products. Vets and farmers have been working to protect the use of existing products, as well as changing habits in the use of anthelmintics to protect future products that come onto the market.

One of the key ways we have been doing this is by reducing the unnecessary worming of livestock. Historically, habit has often been to worm entire groups of animals routinely throughout the summer. We now aim to worm livestock based on the results of faecal worm egg counts. This involves taking a sample of faeces from a group of animals, mixing it with some saline solution and looking under a microscope to count how many worm eggs there are in each gram of faeces. This technique not only reduces the use of wormers but can also detect worm burdens earlier when they are causing reduced growth rates but not disease.

At Larkmead we do in house faecal worm egg counts. We recommend monthly worm egg counts of youngstock throughout the grazing season.

Please contact the Farm Office on 01491 651479 to chat to one of the vets about how we can help you.