WRML.outlook.fluke snails.haemonchus.ask bill.drought app etc

In this issue:

  • Outlook from the Outhouse
  • New DPI Primefact – liver fluke snails
  • Haemonchus – all you could want to know!
  • ‘Ask Bill’ – Wellbeing and Productivity (Sheep CRC)
  • DPI’s Drought Feed Calculator app
  • $151.5m for four CRCs to address key industry issues
  • West Nile virus in Australia
  • Buying livestock on Facebook or Gumtree? Be aware of risks
  • Cats at risk from deadly virus outbreak
  • How to do CPR – with Vinnie Jones

Outlook from the Outhouse

Worm counts in sheep across NSW are highly variable, probably reflecting the variability of seasonal conditions, even within districts.

On top of this is the issue of anthelmintic resistance. Possibly 5 % of sheep producers across Australia, on average, do regular (more than once or twice a year!) worm egg counting (WEC), including periodic checking of drench efficacy: a WEC on the day of drenching and 14 days later (DrenchCheck). WormBoss of course gives good guidance on all this. Start by checking out ‘Your Program’ at WormBoss.

What is the one thing that sheep and goat producers could do that would most improve their worm control?   I have thought  about this over the decades: I reckon regular WECs, e.g., every 4-6 weeks when conditions are good for worms, and out to say 6-8 weeks when things are not so good (sustained cold and/or dry). And, in the Rangelands, a WEC several weeks after good rain(s) producing a green pick.

‘What about everything else?’, you might say. Grazing management, genetics, nutrition etc!? All important – of course! – but, if I had to pick one thing I would still say, WECing! Once you start regular WECing, this will lead on to everything else. Think about it. (Of course, bedtime reading of WormBoss or other good, digestible info on worms is important as well).

So, we are now in autumn and careering towards early winter. This brings to mind two things: liver fluke, and weaning of calves.

Weaning calves?   In many areas, calves are being weaned around now or a bit later. In say the eastern third of NSW, weaners will probably require a weaning drench, for roundworms at least, and maybe liver fluke as well (if on a flukey farm).

What broad spectrum drench should you use?   One of the ones that works on your place.   The reality is that most people will be making a more or less educated guess on this. Remember that resistance of worms to drenches is now common in cattle. It’s not just a sheep and goat thing.

If you don’t know for sure, your best bet will be a combination of unrelated broad spectrum actives. Even if you do know what works on your place, such a combination is arguably a good idea (if it works!), given that current resistance theory says it is probably a good idea. Whatever you do, consider doing a DrenchCheck: a WEC at day zero and day 14. What will it cost you in time and money?  How valuable will the information be? I think it is a very good investment.

The problem with worms and drench resistance is invisibility. Invisible but costly. If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it (as Arthur Le Feuvre would sagely say).

Now to liver fluke. For various reasons, the late autumn-early winter (April/May) fluke drench is considered the most important strategic treatment on ‘flukey’ farms.  And this is the time you should use the most effective fluke drenches, i.e., not just the ones that kill late immature and adult fluke. For sheep, goats and cattle, this means a triclabendazole (TCBZ)-based drench.  An added option in cattle is two injectable products based on the unrelated flukicides, nitroxynil and clorsulon. As always, check labels regarding withholding periods and so on.

Resistance to flukicides?   Well, some of the first cases of flukicide resistance were found in Australia. (A dubious honour). The first case in the world of resistance to TCBZ, a very important drench that has been used since the 1980s, was found in Victoria in 1995, by Overend and friends. Boray and others found resistance to other flukicides in Australia back in the 1980s, but as late as the 1990s experts were saying resistance to fluke drenches wasn’t yet a major problem. About 15 years ago, Dr Joan Lloyd (then with NSW DPI) and I, together with NSW District Veterinarians (with assistance from Novartis), embarked on a ‘reconnaissance survey’, aiming to check for resistance to TCBZ and closantel on 20 sheep farms across the state. We only got results on 8 properties. On one of these, we found TCBZ-resistance.

It’s all changed since then.  Various experts across the world are saying flukicide resistance is becoming a common and important problem. Nearer to home field and published reports of resistance seem to be more common as well.

What to do?  The first thing is to check the efficacy of fluke drenches when you use them. Do a fluke WEC (different from the WEC for roundworms) on the day of treatment (day zero) and again 21 days later. (Not 14 days, as that is too early for fluke). An alternative test is the ‘new’ test, the ‘faecal fluke antigen ELISA’ (also called the ‘coproantigen test’), currently available at the CSU Wagga and NSW DPI vet labs.   Check with your advisor or the labs regarding availability and cost.

Liver fluke snails – revised DPI Primefact

Here: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/sheep/health/internal-parasites/liver-fluke-snails   Primefact 476 Second Edition  Published: Mar 2017.

More than you ever wanted to know about Haemonchus

Haemonchus contortus and Haemonchosis – Past, Present and Future Trends

Adv Parasitol Vol 93 Pages 1-666 2016
Edited by Robin B. Gasser and Georg Von Samson-Himmelstjerna http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/bookseries/0065308X/93/supp/C

More information (on the 14 chapters, and cost per chapter) – see PDF: gasser-r-et-al-haemonchus-contortus-and-haemonchosis-past-present-and-future-trends-2016

But, there is more!:

Invited Review
Haemonchus contortus: the then and now, and where to from here?
David L. Emery,  Peter W. Hunt , Leo F. Le Jambre.  Int. Journal Parasitol., 2016

‘Ask Bill’ – Wellbeing and Productivity (Sheep CRC)

From the Sheep CRC (Feb 2017) newsletter (http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/):

“The Wellbeing & Productivity team is nearing the completion date for the first phase of the AskBill app which has the potential to transform the way sheep producers detect and manage animal health and production.  AskBill brings together farm data, weather, genetics and industry knowledge in the form of a number of models that predict pasture growth, animal performance, wool production, flystrike, worm infection and weather stress.  Interactive simulation models will help producers with ‘what-if’ questions to help manage feed budgets, determine stocking rates and plan supplementary feeding to achieve production targets.

The second phase of the project will commence in March and concentrate on prediction of lamb growth and wool production.  A project with the Bureau of Meteorology is designed to provide weather forecasts at a scale which will be more appropriate for farm-level management decisions.  Validation of AskBill will commence during the first half of 2017 with on-farm measurements being used to test and improve the predictive models.

There will be an ‘internal’ launch of AskBill at the Coffs Harbour Planning Meeting on 22 March 2017.”


DPI’s Drought Feed Calculator app


Casburn Drought-Feed-Calculator-App 2017-03

NSW Department of Primary Industries development officer, Geoff Casburn, says the Drought Feed Calculator app is designed for use in the paddock to develop well-informed and cost efficient feed strategies for sheep and cattle. Photo: Bernadette York

$151.5m for four CRCs to address key industry issues

http://minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/sinodinos/media-releases/1515m-four-crcs-address-key-industry-issues   (7 March 2017)

  • CRC for High Performance Soils ($39.5m over 10 years) to help farmers bridge the gap between soil science and farm management;
  • CRC for Honey Bee Products ($7m over 5 years) to help link unique floral hive sites to product quality control processes;
  • Food Agility CRC ($50m over 10 years) to help develop ways of applying the agile culture and processes of the digital economy along the whole value chain for fresh and processed food;
  • iMove CRC ($55m over 10 years) to exploit digital and evolving vehicle technologies to enable traffic (travellers and freight operators) to flow more smoothly and efficiently .

West Nile virus in Australia

New Primefact: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/horses/health-and-disease/west-nile-virus


West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito borne virus belonging to the genus Flavivirus. A strain of WNV, Kunjin virus (WNVKUN) is endemic in parts of Australia and has been present for many years.

WNV is found across all continents except Antarctica. In Australia, WNVKUN has been infrequently associated with disease in humans. In 2011, there was a large outbreak of neurological disease in horses in South East Australia caused by a variant of the Australian strain WNVKUN.

West Nile virus infection has been confirmed in a horse from the Forbes district in February 2017.

Topics covered by this Primefact include:

  • Signs of West Nile virus
  • how to notify West Nile infection in animals
  • how, when and where the virus spreads
  • diagnosis of West Nile virus in horses
  • treatment and prevention of West Nile infection in animals.

Buying livestock on Facebook or Gumtree? Be aware of risks

Cats at risk from deadly virus outbreak


Feline panleukopenia virus, also known as feline enteritis, is a deadly viral infection of cats that was first discovered more than 100 years ago. With the uptake of vaccinations, disease virtually disappeared from Australia in the mid-1970s” (.when I was in practice…:-)  🙂

The current outbreak seems to be caused by a lack of mass vaccination, especially in shelter-housed cats,” Professor Barrs said. 

“The disease had previously re-emerged in Melbourne cat shelters a few years ago but despite warnings, cats have not been vaccinated in many shelters because their risk of disease was perceived to be lower than in dogs, when in reality the risk to cats is high.

“When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, there is a perfect storm for the emergence of a disease epidemic. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals where effective vaccines are available is essential”.


From the NSW Vet Practitioners Board:



The above is very detailed. More than most will want to know!

Here is the Australia Vet Assoc ‘position statement’ on vaccination:  http://www.ava.com.au/policy/66-vaccination-dogs-and-cats

It doesn’t provide a detailed schedule, saying this should be worked out between the client and their vet.

Some general principles from the statement:

‘Core vaccines should be administered to all animals to protect them against severe, life-threatening diseases that have a global distribution. Dogs: canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus. Cats: feline parvovirus, feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus.’

‘Because of maternally derived antibody and the variability in its level and duration between individuals, vaccines should ideally be administered two to three times to puppies and kittens, with timing of the final dose being variable but not earlier than the age of 16 weeks (the suggested age varies with the manufacturer and the vaccine). If cost is an issue and only one vaccine is possible, it should be at the age of 16 weeks or older.’

A booster vaccine should be administered approximately 12 months later.

Read the statement for more info on ‘non-core’ vaccines, and annual vs triennial boosters.

How to do CPR – Vinnie Jones for British Heart Foundation




(Of course, it’s “000” in Aus, not ‘999’)
SL, Armidale Mon 18 March 2017

e&oe. No conflicts of interest.





WRML.2017-03-01.WormFax-NAPfix is back-pic-Haemonchus-biosecurity-wedgies v drones

 WormFaxNSW – January 2017

The January issue is now up on the  web:


Many thanks to the labs at NSW DPI, EMAI (Kathy Cooper et al), and to Veterinary Health Research (now part of Invetus)), Armidale (Amanda Saunders et al) for supplying (every month, over many years), summary data on sheep WormTests around NSW.

NAPfix® is back (we have an OP-based drench again)

Australia has had an organophosphate-based sheep drench for over half a century, with an occasional gap in supply.

Naphthalophos (NAP) (“Rametin” (Bayer)) was one of the early ones.

In the last decade or two, we have had a few choices, e.g. pyraclifos (pyraclifos + albendazole (ABZ); “Colleague”(Coopers)), various brands of NAP in addition to Bayer’s “Rametin” (“Combat”(Virbac), and “Pole Vault”), and the NAP-based combination, NAPfix (NAP+abamectin+ABZ (Jurox)). And, for a time “Neguvon” (triclorphon (Bayer)), was available under permit for use in goats to control Haemonchus. (My connection with Neguvon began back in the ‘olden days’. In the late 1970s, the typical mix vets in Australia used to drench (stomach tube) horses was Neguvon (for bots), thiabendazole (the new BZ  ‘wonder’ drench (‘released in AU mid 1960s, for sheep etc), and piperazine).

OPs had a narrower safety index than many drenches, and so had to be used with care. However, they gave us another option, an active from a  different family, and were especially useful when used in combination with unrelated actives. Through the 90s and ‘noughties’ we particularly hoped that use of OPs would take some pressure off the ‘mectins’ (macrocyclic lactones).

By 2016, OP-based sheep drenches had become thin on the ground in AU. See here:


It appeared we would no longer have access to an OP drench unless NAPfix made a comeback, which it has just recently.

NAPfix was first released ~ 2012. See here: https://wormmailinthecloud.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/wrml-napfix-hendra-vaccine-and-a-vets-life/

According to a recent release from Jurox, NAPfix® was ‘subject to a voluntary non-urgent recall in 2014 due to issues with the dispersibility of the product’. (For your information a copy of the company’s release is attached. Undated; received 2017-02-28).


As always, discuss this information and the role of NAPfix on your property with your adviser.

As to cost, I am guessing the price of NAPfix will be in the same ballpark as other multi-active (triple and quadruple) combinations, but “I have no real visibility around this” (“going forward”).

Assume nothing when it comes to any drench product, including those containing the newest (novel) actives (monepantel and derquantel). Regularly monitor the efficacy of all anthelmintics.

It is good that the Australian sheep industry again has access to an organophosphate drench (as well as the other drench groups). Each producer will need to determine if NAPfix can be added to the suite of products effective on their property. At the very least, do a DrenchCheck if using NAPfix (or any product!). This involves a worm egg count (WEC) on or just before the day of drenching, and again 14 days later.   More information here. Seriously consider getting larval cultures/differentiations (‘wormtype’) done as well, even if egg counts at the day 14 WEC are relatively low.

The best is to set up a DrenchTest, where a series of different anthelmintic actives are tested. More information here.  You can test individual actives, and work out likely efficacies of multi-active combinations from there. (Use the Wormboss combination-drench-efficacy-calculator). (In the case of NAPfix, it might be hard now to get naphthalophos as a single active product (Rametin), and in the case of Startect, derquantel is not available on its own).




Constantinoiu C photos

Another photo (used with permission) from Dr Constantin Constantinoiu of James Cook University. Qld. In the last WormMail, we had one of an Haemonchus larva which ingested fluorescent bacteria. Great pic!   Here is another nice one from CC: Haemonchus on abomasal mucosa. (Please do not use the pic without permission from the owner).


Practical biosecurity hints when bringing home purchased cattle


A good summary/introduction by Dr Pat Kluver. Pat concludes by saying the article does not present an exhaustive list of recommendations, and suggests readers get the biosecurity app:  http://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/farmbiosecurity-app/   ( I am about to check it out). PS. Pat mentions triclabendazole-based flukicides as part of an effective quarantine treatment when fluke might be an issue. Another option in cattle, similarly effective, are the injectable flukicides that contain nitroxynil + clorsulon. (As always, check the label, including withholding periods etc).


Image source: Apple

Wedgies v drones


My money is on the wedgies.

SL, Armidale  2017-03-01