WRML.20110831.Wormboss News. Should you drench at marking.

To: WormMail list (recip. undisclosed)    WRML.20110831.Wormboss News. Should you drench at marking.

[wormboss news, bruce watt, lambing marking, drenching, sex and parasites, joe boray, fasciola, lymnaea, fly’s feet smell]

WormBoss News – August 2011   http://www.wool.com/Grow_WormBoss.htm

I have just been reading WormBoss News and yet again I feel very positive about the value of this service.

If memory serves, WormBoss (the website at least) was launched in March 2005, and I think one of the better things we created was WormBoss News.

This has developed a fair bit in the last 2-3 years (under the oversight of Arthur Le Feuvre), with some extra contributors coming on board. Each month there is good quality local knowledge on worms (and occasionally other things…eg mice in SA) from all the sheep raising areas of Australia. The increased number of contributors from NSW for example means that I can write less: always a good thing … plus the quality is better.   🙂

For example, a recurring theme this month from contributors in the southern tablelands of NSW (mostly LHPA vets) is the amazing pasture infectivity at present, and the likelihood of major worm problems in weaners this Spring and into Summer.

So, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of WormBoss News and I want to say:

* a big and on-going thank you to the expert contributors around the country

* if you haven’t subscribed to WormBoss News, you really should.  [To subscribe to the monthly WormBoss email newsletter, please contact webmaster@wool.com and quote "WormBoss" in the subject line.]


Here is an article Bruce Watt has written for his regular column in the Bathurst (central tablelands, NSW) newspaper. Used with permission here)

Its good stuff as usual and topical because of the very wormy pastures in his part of the world and to the south (Yass, Goulburn etc areas – see comments above re WormBoss News)

As always note the context (it is written for the Bathurst area), but there are some good general messages here for those further afield.

You will note that we have Bruce’s dinkus here with this article (reproduced below).  It is only today that I found out what a dinkus is, apart from the rude definitions in Urban Dictionary. Dinkus apparently is a typography/editorial term referring to the picture and title etc of a person heading the article they wrote. (It can also refer to ‘separators’ used within chapters in books). You will be pleased to note that I have a dinkus as well (phew!), from my occasional articles in The Land newspaper.

I didn’t have a dinkus when I was young boy, but I did have a dinky.

I am not sure the Bathurst newspaper would like BW’s articles being reproduced here: I suspect many people only buy that paper to see what Bruce has written.

To find out about "LHPAs", check out www.lhpa.org.au.    For overseas readers,"lamb marking"  is when lambs get their tails docked, boys get bits removed, and vaccination is usually done.

Read on.


I am occasionally asked if lambs should be drenched at marking. I usually answer that there is no benefit in this practice. After all lambs, 2-8 weeks of age are generally on a high protein (milk) diet with limited grazing. So they consume few worms and because of the high protein diet, handle them.

This all changes at weaning when lambs are suddenly full time grazers on lower quality feed but with virtually no resistance to worms. This is why drenching lambs at weaning is essential.

However, this year I have seen lambs affected by worms prior to weaning. In some cases, this has been barber’s pole worm and in some cases, the winter scour worms. This is most unusual (although I also saw BPW in lambs before weaning last spring).

My TLHPA district vet colleagues and I think this is occurring because conditions have been so conductive for worms over the last year that at least on some paddocks we have a massive build-up of worm larvae.

These worm larvae are affecting ewes post lambing, especially those ewes already doing it a bit tough. This high level of pasture contamination is also affecting lambs especially the older lambs in the mob and those learning to graze early.

How can you tell if you have massive worm larvae levels on your lambing paddocks? Firstly, if it is winter scour worms, some ewes will lose weight and others will have evidence of green diarrhoea on the hocks and breach.

If is barber’s pole worm, as you know, ewes and lambs fall to the back of the mob, collapse weak and pale and die. I have seen both in the past two weeks, both in ewes and lambs.

If you suspect a worm build-up on your lambing paddocks, you can best confirm this by testing manure samples for a worm egg count. You should be able to pick lamb manure from that of ewes and so can determine worm levels in both.

If the worm egg count (WEC) is only 200-300 the mob should be right until weaning when the lambs must be drenched and the ewes drenched with their first summer drench.

However, if the WEC is high, and especially if some show signs of worms, you need to act now. You can either drench the ewes and lambs (at marking or later) onto a different paddock with fewer worms. That is easier said than done.

 You could also drench ewes and the older lambs with a short acting drench, which may relive the situation. Alternatively, you can also use long acting products such as moxidectin or capsules.

I have mentioned before that long acting products have the disadvantage of promoting worm resistance more than short acting drenches and so should be used sparingly. Now may be the time to use them. If using long acting products consider a drench to eliminate those worms that have survived as the drench reaches the end of its life.

You must ensure that the drench you choose is effective. We have seen some cases recently where abamectin and moxidectin are moderately to completely ineffective against BPW. A WEC both before you drench and 10-14 days after drenching will tell you if your drench worked. In a season like this, you can’t afford to guess.

Finally, it is also time to think about the paddock you plan to use for weaning lambs. A heavily contaminated pasture will be disastrous for weaners. An ideal paddock would be one in which cattle are grazing now. An alternative is a paddock in which dry sheep with a very low worm burden are grazing. The worst option is a contaminated lambing paddock.

 Senior District Veterinarian
Bruce Watt BVSc, MS, MACVSc
Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority
31st August 2011

(The picture doesn’t do Bruce justice).

Sex and parasites

Further to the item on ‘sex and parasites’ in an earlier WormMail, liver fluke guru Dr Joe Boray tells me that the intermediate host snail, Lymnaea tomentosa, does very well by self fertilisation. However they also copulate from time to time, just for fun. (This sounds like an anthropomorphism to me).

Who said parasitology was boring?

By the way, did you know that the sheep blowfly (L. cuprina)  smells through it’s feet? (ie its feet smell). I was reminded of this when working with Ed Joshua and Alan Casey (NSW DPI operatives) at some farmer meetings in the central west a few weeks ago. Ed mentioned the smelling feet in his talk on fly biology. I am not sure about Ed’s feet.



WRML. Sundry and Various

Healthy and Contented Sheep
11 August 2011 (9am to 3pm )

Focuses On: Health and welfare

This Healthy and Contented Sheep Workshop will inform producers of management practices that will help to control and manage relevant health issues such as lice, flies and worms.


Healthy and Contented Sheep
12 August 2011 (9am to 3pm )

Focuses On: Health and welfare

This Healthy and Contented Sheep Workshop will inform producers of management practices that will help to control and manage relevant health issues such as lice, flies and worms.


Faecal Egg Counts for Worms (PROfarm)
13 August 2011 (9am to 4:30pm )

Focuses On: Skills Training, Health and welfare

A course for those interested in managing internal parasites and worms in their livestock.


Sheep Connect NSW Industry Update
17 August 2011 (9am to 3:30pm )

Focuses On: Resources, pastures and grazing, Feeding and nutrition, Breeding and selection, Enterprise and business planning, Reproduction, Health and welfare

This seminar, presented as part of the Sheep Connect NSW network, will enable sheep producers the opportunity to interact with various industry authorities and discuss some of the significant issues facing their industry.

Focuses On: Resources, pastures and grazing, Feeding and nutrition, Breeding and selection, Enterprise and business planning, Reproduction, Health and welfare

This seminar, presented as part of the Sheep Connect NSW network, will enable sheep producers the opportunity to interact with various industry authorities and discuss some of the significant issues facing their industry.

Vet Talk article for the 22 Sept issue of The Land

I had to write this early while I had time.  Here is a pre-publication preview, as a special treat  🙂

(Note that this mainly has higher rainfall (>500 mm pa), temperate sheep raising areas of NSW in view. Depending on where you are, ‘your mileage may vary’)

"Spring cleaning

Stephen Love
Veterinarian / State Coordinator-Internal Parasites
NSW Dept. Primary Industries
Armidale NSW 2351

Spring is a great time for worms of livestock. Warmer weather is around the corner and that with a bit of moisture makes things better for both worms and grass.

A lot of sheep lamb in spring and in some areas, the NSW southern tablelands for example, this is a time of peak larval availability, i.e. pastures are wormy, unless you spent the preceding 6 months preparing a low worm-risk lambing paddock.

This also coincides with the peri-parturient relaxation of resistance, that is, the time from just before lambing and for several weeks after when ewes lose a fair bit of immunity to worms. So, many farms could end up with wormy lambing paddocks.

Rather than getting caught with your pants down, it would be a good idea to do a worm egg count (WEC or ‘WormTest’) on ewes and lambs, using fresh dung samples from the paddock, just before you bring the ewes and lambs in for marking. In ‘normal’ years and with good management, lambs usually don’t have many worms at marking, but sometimes things go awry.  Don’t guess, WormTest.

You’ll probably have a build up of resistant worms on the lambing paddock too, especially if you used a long-acting wormer pre-lambing. So, what you need is an exit strategy.

When ewes and lambs are moved off the lambing paddock at weaning, give them a clean out with a drench that is highly effective and unrelated to the one used pre-lambing. The idea is to stop resistant worms on the lambing paddock from being moved elsewhere on the farm. You might double-check by doing a WormTest 7-14 days after the clean-out or exit drench. Maybe the drench wasn’t as good as you thought it was.

What about the paddock itself? You might think the best thing is to put cattle on to the lambing paddock for a while after the ewes and lambs have left. While that will reduce the number of sheep worms on the paddock, it won’t reduce the proportion of worms that are resistant. So, better than cattle is to use relatively wormy sheep that haven’t been drenched for a while, the idea being that resistant worms on the lambing paddock will be ‘diluted’ with drench-susceptible or at least less resistant worms from the wormy sheep. After that you can put cattle into the paddock to get total worm numbers down.

It’s a bit late to talk much about lambing paddock preparation, but we can mention weaner paddock preparation. In most areas, paddock prep for a spring lambing takes about 6 months of keeping the paddock basically sheep free (with one or two exceptions, which I can’t discuss here) because larvae on pasture die off more slowly in cooler months. But, weaning may take place in warmer months of late spring or summer, when larval death rates are higher. Depending on how warm it is, it may take from 2-4 months of keeping the weaner paddock sheep free in order to get worm numbers down ready for the weaners.

What about weaner cattle?  People tend to rely on long-acting pour on drenches rather than paddock preparation these days. I am not sure that is sustainable. Yes, we are getting drench resistance in cattle worms.

Weaner cattle generally pick up most of their worms in spring. Paddock moves, a couple between winter and summer, are a good idea, with weaners being moved to paddocks that haven’t had other young cattle (less than 18 months old) on them in the last 4 months.

For ‘Vet Talk’, The Land,  22 Sept 2011.     SL. 20110809 "

Ivermectin resistance in South Africa – double quick time

"…. (ML) resistance was discovered in South Africa within two years after the introduction of ivermectin to the market for use in sheep (Carmichael et al., 1987; Van Wyk et al., 1988). (Jan Van Wyk, pers comm., 20110722)

Jan further states: "the dates of the articles are quite a bit later than when the cases were found. Also, ivermectin had been on the market for cattle since somewhat earlier, before it was registered for use in sheep".


http://keditchmite.posterous.com/… Ed may develop this site a bit more, I don’t know.

Here’s what the Famacha eye chart looks like

Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture


This is a bit like reading the Vegetarian Myth (Lierre Keith): the title doesn’t tell it all.

Couple eaten alive by tiny worms


Sex and Parasites


Nodule worm – Oesophagostomum columbianum

Here is a pic sent to me by Qld DPI (DEEDI) parasitologist. Maxine Lyndal-Murphy.
(Used with permission)

Shaun Slattery (Narrabri NSW) has similar photos from his patch.

Nodule worm, which is quite pathogenic, used to be number two worm behind barber’s pole worm in the New England region up until about 40-50 years ago, when it apparently disappeared.

It still occurs in warmer areas of the summer rainfall zones of NSW and Qld to the west of the Great Dividing Range.

It still occasionally costs a lot of money.   See the DPI Primefact on this (including why nodule worm de-camped from the New England).


As a matter of interest (to me at least), Keith Dash, the father of the original WormKill (circa 1984) (Hugh McL Gordon arguably was the grandfather) did his PhD on Oes. columbianum.

If you look a the literature  on this worm , the name Dobson appears quite often. But it is not the Dobson of modelling* fame: he is not quite old enough.

* Modelling parasites on computers, that is… though he may well do other modelling for all I know…. 🙂



Photo: J. Betts, Thallon near St George, QLD (via Maxine Lyndal-Murphy)

Karl Popper and Monthy Python

In a WormMail* a while ago, I included Karl Popper’s observations about white swans and black swans (and that scientists should be looking to disprove their hypotheses (looking for black swans).

* https://wormmailinthecloud.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/wrml-1-frosts-dont-finish-haemonchus-2-naphthalophos-resistance-chatting-with-alphonse-3-article-in-the-land-on-quarantine-drenching/

A recipient of WormMail, obviously a talented Month Python tragic, came up with this (how a scientist may defend his/her pet theory):

One man’s black swan is another man’s duck. I am reminded for some reason about a monty python sketch about a parrot. I guess the conversation would go somewhat like this:

1 – There it is, a black swan

2 – That’s not a black swan. It has no neck

1 – It must be a front rower black swan

2 – Swan’s don’t play football. Also, it just quacked.

1 – That wasn’t a quack, it just passed wind.

2 – It’s not even black, it is red!

1 – Reddy-black

2 – Reddy-black, no it’s not.

1 – It’s bleeding!

2 – It’s a bloody duck I tell you.

1 – No need to swear. Swan’s look like ducks just before they hibernate.

2 – It doesn’t look like a duck, it is a duck. And Swan’s don’t hibernate.

1 – So you now think it is a non-hibernating swan. Neck’s a bit short for one.


See if you can finish this off.

(He also likes Tim Tams).   Thank you D.

Some may be unhappy with the statement that (the Sydney) Swans don’t play football.

Infecting a Snail: Life Cycle of the Grossest Parasite


Cadel Evans

Everyone likes to claim a celebrity…


" Evans has stated that it was his early years growing up in Armidale, New South Wales, that was the inspiration for his cycling career. "



Read no further…

Real Men Don’t Eat Carbs

Low carb enthusiasts will like this:


Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

Lies,  damned lies, and medical science



This probably is not limited to medical / nutritional  science

Not so mad cow

" There are two cows in a field, and one says to the other. ‘What do you think of this mad cow diseases then? You worried?’ The other replies. ‘Well it doesn’t really affect me because I’m a penguin.’"

Thanks SH.

The Man Without a Facebook Trailer‬‏ – YouTube