WRML.2017-08-30.van Wyk gold medal.black disease and fluke.ParaBoss News. resistance-long acting drenches.etc

In this issue:

SAVA Gold Medal awarded to Dr Jan vanWyk
Black disease and liver fluke
Another reason to subscribe to ParaBoss News
Resistance to long-acting drenches – Sawford
Beasley et larval migration test ML resistant cyathostomins (horse worms)
Ten years since equine influenza outbreak
Ascochyta eats into chickpea defenses – lessons re anthelmintic resistance?
Footrot alert -central western NSW
Australia’s oldest? publican sells 1884 pub
Banksias and pardalotes

SAVA Gold Medal awarded to Dr Jan vanWyk

‘Anyone’ who knows ‘anything’ about veterinary parasitology knows the name Jan van Wyk.

Here is an excerpt from the attached/linked document:

“The Gold Medal of the SAVA (South African Veterinary Association) was awarded to Dr Jan van Wyk for his exceptional and sustained scientific achievements as helminthology researcher in a professional career stretching over an impressive 55 years.
Jan graduated as veterinarian in 1962 and spent 6 years as state veterinarian before transferring to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute’s Helminthology Department, where he was an assistant-director from 1983-1997. Hereafter he was appointed as extraordinary lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, a position that he still holds.
He dedicated his entire career to research in helminthology, concentrating on the control of verminosis in sheep, with emphasis on avoiding the development of resistance to conventional chemical methods/chemotherapy by helminth management. His scientific productivity and absolute objectivity are exceptional.
His impressive CV lists 93 papers ….. ”    “… His dedication to improvement of the
health and production of livestock and thus the quality and success of farming is phenomenal, always going out of his way to make his scientific studies of practical value to the commercial and developing farming community. …..”      (Thank you for the heads-up,  Johann S)

See attached for pics and more information: van Wyk J-Gold Medal South African Vet Assoc 2017-frm J Schroder 2017-08-29

Congratulations Jan! 

Black disease and liver fluke

This from the Welsh Veterinary Science Centre (WVSC) news  (Thanks Sion Jones)

Image source/credit: Welsh Veterinary Science Centre

Black disease alert… (Wales!)

“The WVSC has seen three cases of Black disease in cattle in the last two months. There were two cases in June, and one this month. Typical liver lesions were found in a two year old beef suckler heifer that was found recumbent, hypothermic and died within two hours. Also in June, a 12 month old beef heifer was found dead and had a liver lesion at post mortem. Most recently, Black disease was diagnosed in a nine year old Friesian cow that became inappetent, recumbent and hypothermic before dying.
Black disease is usually associated with migrating liver fluke larvae, which suggests a relatively early fluke challenge this year, and a continued risk of infection for this autumn. Consideration should be given to clostridial vaccination to protect against the causal organism Clostridium novyi.  Also, flukicide treatment with a flukicide active against immature fluke larvae, bearing in mind milk and meat withdrawal periods for adult animals.”

We do of course get black disease and other clostridial diseases in Australia. And black disease (infectious necrotic hepatitis) here is also considered to be often associated with migrating liver fluke. But, the out-of-the-ordinary does happens. At the former Regional Vet Lab Armidale, we had a case (late 1980s/early 1990s?) of black disease (I think in sheep) from a fluke-free property. Investigation found that the affected sheep, part of a research project, had had a liver biopsy. And vaccination had been overlooked.

More info: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/clostridial-diseases/infectious-necrotic-hepatitis

The connection of black disease with liver fluke is mentioned in NSW DPI’s Primefacts on liver fluke.

Wormboss also has information on flukes:  http://www.wormboss.com.au/worms/flukes.php

(This piece on black disease is just an excuse to post a pic of ‘nice’ pathology…:-)

Another reason to subscribe to ParaBoss News

Here is an excerpt from the latest issue (August 2017), from Dr Kate Sawford (Braidwood NSW):

“There have been two confirmed reports of resistance to long-acting drenches in the district over the past three months. While the long-acting drench may not have caused this resistance (it may have come about by historic use of its short-acting counterpart), these cases serve as a reminder that you can assume nothing when it comes to worm control.”

“In the first instance the producer had given the long-acting combination drench to a mob of ten-month-old lambs. Around fifty days later lambs started dying and the producer decided it was time for a WormTest. The WormTest showed individual worm egg counts (WEC) ranging from zero to 21000 eggs per gram (epg) with an average WEC of around 5000 epg. In the second instance the producer gave a long acting containing a single active to two separate mobs of ewes that had been formed following scanning and dividing the previously larger mob into single- and twin-bearing ewes. The producer decided to do a DrenchCheck around two weeks after giving the long acting and found that both mobs still had WECs and the drench had been less than 90% effective in each of the two mobs”

Read the rest of what Kate had to say, including a discussion regarding best practice with respect to long-acting drenches.

Preeminently important though they are  🙂 , ParaBoss News is not just about worms; it also gives local/regional/national updates regarding lice and flies. See, for example, Dr Bill Johnson’s (Goulburn) discussion on lice treatment failures.

Source: https://www.paraboss.com.au/news/outlooks/nsw/august-2017.php#bill-johnson

Beasley et larval migration test ML resistant cyathostomins Vet Para 2017

May be of interest:

Adaptation of a 96-well plate larval migration inhibition test for measuring the sensitivity of cyathostomins to macrocyclic lactone anthelmintics

Article in Veterinary Parasitology · August 2017
DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2017.08.010

Ten years since equine influenza outbreak


“The NSW DPI led the fight against the EI outbreak.”  

… with Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (now part of Local Land Services) District Veterinarians – and others – playing a major role as well….   Along with private vet practitioners and many others….. Not least horse owners!


equine influenza outbreak 10 years since it happened-article in The Land 2017-08-29

Ascochyta eats into chickpea defenses

http://www.theland.com.au/story/4881513/ascochyta-eats-into-chickpea-defenses/?cs=4937   (‘Story features Tamworth-based NSW DPI plant pathologist, Kevin Moore)

‘Analogous in some ways to anthelmintic resistance. (Interestingly, but entirely irrelevant, there is a chick pea variety called Hatrick).

‘However, the ascochyta situation was constantly changing.’   ‘..so I’m suggesting to you people, look after these great new chickpea varieties that you are helping develop and farm sensibly,” he said.’   “therefore, growers needed to be smart about how they farmed, and make sure they plan their management to prevent diseases overcoming the resistance traits of new varieties.’

‘Sounds like a plea for integrated pest management to me. (For the sheep/goat worm version of IPM, go here: http://www.wormboss.com.au/programs.php

(Ascochyta is a genus of ascomycete fungi, containing several species that are pathogenic to plants, particularly cereal crops’. Source: wiki.   Yep, I had to look this up (which was difficult, as we vets are barely literate… 🙂

Footrot alert -central western NSW


Australia’s oldest? publican sells 1884 pub


Sundry and various

One of my fave plants in our garden

Banksia ericifolia  heath-leaved banksia   (from the Latin erica, meaning “heather”).    The eastern spinebill and wattle bird like it too.

B ericifolia026_24 2000-10

Recently seen by LPK in coast(al) banksias outside his window at UNE:

striated pardalote

lerp: a structure of crystallized honeydew or sweet, edible waxy secretion, produced by larvae of psyllid bugs as a protective cover.  (Australian Aboriginal; Wembawemda lerep) Macquarie Dictionary)

pardalote: New Latin pardalotus from Grk pardalotys marked like a leopard, from pardalis leopard (Macq. Dict.)


SL, Armidale, AU  2017-08-30

Egregious errors and omissions excepted (ee&oe)

Conflicts of interest: none that I recall.

WRML.2017-08-24.spring-worms.prenatal fluke infection.DPI and science week etc

In this issue

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris
Prenatal liver fluke infections
Chemotaxis and taxis
Prenatal liver fluke infections
Chemotaxis and taxis
NSW DPI and National Science Week
‘Farm subsidies in Australia: the facts’
Rugby rankings
Injectable pain relief for sheep
Teratogens, congenital defects etc
Efficacy of flu vaccines?
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs)
Leading causes of death
Pics of the week
15 best jokes from Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017
Why no solar eclipse every month?

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris

…assuming you have had enough rain.

Spring often means grass and growth, and green grass often means worms. As a general rule, if it’s good for grass, it’s good for worms.

But, you can see grass; mostly you don’t see worms, and what they do to your bottom line. There are exceptions of course, and these are mainly due to the haematophagous (‘blood-eating’) worms of ruminants, liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) and barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus (‘blood-spear’)), both of which can be dramatic (overt disease, deaths), and both of which are easily seen on post-mortem examination, unlike the ‘hair’  (Greek for hair = trich-) worms (black scour worm (Trichostrongylus spp), small brown stomach worm (Teladorsagia circumcincta) etc).

‘Best thing you can do? (Yeah…I know this is getting boring…):

Read and follow Your Program, at Wormboss.com.au. And, among other things, ‘Your Program’ will tell you to use worm egg counts (WormTests) to regularly monitor worm burdens, and before and after drenching (these WormTests are called DrenchCheck), to monitor drench efficacy. Yep, you have heard it all before.

(Spring…starts 1 Sept or from the equinox?)

Prenatal liver fluke infections

There is evidence this happens and it was mentioned in the DPI Primefact, “Liver fluke – a review”. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/sheep/health/internal-parasites/liver-fluke-review

But it was Dr Matt Ball (of Virbac; formerly a NSW District Veterinarian) who put the idea into my head. During a talk to farmers at Milton on the South Coast, Matt asked me about pre-natal fluke infections. I confessed I couldn’t recall confirmed cases but, ‘though on the spot, had the nouse to say it should be biologically possible.

(BTW…what’s in a name?: Veterinarians Pierre-Richard Dick and Max Rombi founded Virbac (from virology and bacteriology) in 1968).

We know ‘ectopic’ (out of place) fluke infections occur, i.e. migrating fluke can end up in the wrong place, for example, in the lungs of cattle.  (But fluke probably are not as adept at getting lost as Burke – of Burke and Wills fame).

And presumably immature fluke find their way from the small intestine to the liver by some sort of chemotaxis ( I am guessing). So, why couldn’t migrating fluke end up in another liver that is on board?  ie. the liver of a foetus.

And, lo, they sometimes do. Reading an out of print book (possibly the book by Dr Vic Cole), I came across a reference to prenatal liver fluke.  The paper is by Rees et al:

Rees JB, Sykes WE and Rickard MD, 1975. Prenatal infection with Fasciola hepatica in calves. Australian Veterinary Journal, 51, p. 497.

An earlier survey (results unpublished) by Rees and others found 450 (~ 1.27%)  ex 35,462 calves had gross signs (visible to naked eye) suggestive of liver fluke infection. These were 1-3 week old calves, slaughtered at Shepparton abattoirs (Goulburn valley district, Victoria, AU) in July-September, 1973.

In the following year, at the same abattoirs and the same time of year, they repeated the study, but as well as gross examination, also did closer examination including histopathology of affected livers, examinations of flukes, inspection of gall bladder contents etc. But, the closer examinations were only done on those with gross changes consistent with fluke infections. The authors noted 1974 had unusually high rainfall and was a very good year for fluke in that district, as adjudged by the number of outbreaks of liver fluke disease. However the prevalence of liver lesions in 1974 did not vary significantly from that in 1973. Of the 16,776 calves in the 1974 study, 0.5% we found to have liver fluke.

Most infections were patent, ie producing eggs. Apart from this, using various measurements, the parasites in each case were judged to be not less than 10 weeks old. The ages of the calves, and the fluke recovered from them, indicated the infections were prenatal.

The numbers of liver fluke in affected livers was small, consistent with other reports. However, most bile samples from infected calves had liver fluke eggs, often in very large numbers.

For various reasons, this estimate of ~ 0.5% almost certainly was an underestimate. European reports had estimates of prevalence up to 7.9% in calves up to 12 weeks old that were being used for experimental purposes (1959), and from 0.4 – 1.27% in Berlin abattoirs (in 1935). Meanwhile field and abattoir-based veterinarians in Germany reported very low field prevalences of prenatal fluke infections in calves in  the field.

(I gather the calves in the studies by Rees and colleagues were dairy calves (it’s implied), and possibly from areas with irrigated pastures?  So, there perhaps are some epidemiological clues regarding ‘intensity’ of infection?? which might be different from beef grazing systems??)

Some researchers have reported that livers of calves prenatally infected by liver fluke may not, or do not, have recognizable gross pathology (bile duct thickening; hepatic lymphadenomegaly) suggestive of fluke infection. Rees et al did not find that to be necessarily the case.

Rees et al noted also that there were European reports of prenatal fluke infections in lambs, a foal, and in man. (Wondrous creatures, these worms!)

What is the significance of prenatal fluke infections in cattle and other livestock? The authors discuss this but, in short, it is unclear.

Obviously preventing exposure of pregnant livestock to infective fluke cysts (metacercariae) on pasture will prevent prenatal infections. As to the mothers being treated with flukicides, I could only guess what effect this might have on infections in the foetus. Possibly there is some data somewhere. And if a drench is  known to be a potential teratogen (adversely affecting physiological development – usually embryonic/foetal), presumably it will be noted on the label.

Anyway, it is an interesting story (and one retold without fear or favour :-), and worth parking in the back of your brain, if there is room (and your information retrieval systems are working. (In my case, it’s a fluke when I remember things..)…sorry…). (Thank-you, MB).

Chemotaxis and taxis

Chemotaxis got me thinking about taxis (aka ‘cabs’). Apparently taxi is short for ‘taximeter cab’, the taximeter being the device that computes the fare due. (French: taximetre, from taxe charge). The ‘taxis’ in chemotaxis is from the Gk (taxis), meaning ‘arrangement’. Taxis, in the case of the guided movement of motile organisms, means, I presume, their movement (towards or away from a  stimulus) and destination is ‘arranged’.  I suppose you can see the sense of ‘arrangement’ in the word ‘taxonomy’.

NSW DPI and National Science Week

According to a DPI media release 18 August 2017:

Rigorous and industry-aligned scientific research is critical to ensuring the state’s primary producers meet the challenges of increasing competition and environmental uncertainty, according to NSW DPI Chief Scientist Phil Wright.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is the nation’s largest rural research and development (R&D) provider and is ranked in the top 1 per cent of science institutions globally, in both ‘agricultural science’ and ‘plant and animal science’ categories.

“The emphasis is firmly on delivering cutting-edge, practical information to NSW primary producers, through more than 550 current R&D projects on the go across the state,” Dr Wright said. 


nsw dpi national science week

‘Farm subsidies in Australia: the facts’


I am unable to verify these facts, but have no reason to doubt they are true. It’s not the first time that I have heard that farmers in Australia and New Zealand are the least subsidised of OECD countries….(and the Kiwis have beaten us even at that! – if less is more…   🙂

farmer subsidies various countries

If I have not managed to upset some readers with the above, how about the following….:-)

Rugby rankings

Current (21 Aug 17) world rankings; rugby union (men): Three of the top 5 countries are from the Southern Hemisphere.  NZ at number 1 (naturally), and South Africa (now 4th) having swapped places with Australia (now 5th…(cough..) ).  Ranking and points: 1.NZ(95.21), 2.England (90.14), 3. Ireland (85.39), 4. S/Africa (84.51), 5. AUS (84.21). http://www.worldrugby.org/rankings/mru?lang=en

Injectable pain relief for sheep


Teratogens, congenital defects etc

See: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/congenital-and-inherited-anomalies/overview-of-congenital-and-inherited-anomalies

Efficacy of flu vaccines?

It seems this is a hard question to answer with any accuracy.   In one place in a discussion on this, the CDC says this:
‘CDC conducts studies each year to determine how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness. While vaccine effectiveness can vary, recent studies show vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by about 50%  to 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like the vaccine viruses.’  (With an efficacy like this you can understand the push to have as many people vaccinated as possible – to limit spread. And this might apply to young children in particular, because, when infected with flu viruses, they shed (shed)loads of virus particles. Apart from this, flu in individuals can be a serious disease, not least in youngsters and ‘oldsters’…but see notes below on the 1918 flu pandemic).

And the efficacy may be lower in people over  65 years old, but still, it is argued, worthwhile.

Here is an excerpt from CDC which puts a little more meat on the answer (but leaving questions unanswered):

Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, including among children and older adults.

  • A 2014 study* showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
  • Another study published in the summer of 2016 showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from flu by 57%.
  • A study that looked at flu vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women found that vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about one half.

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs)

With flu being very prevalent in AU at present, RTIs are likely on our minds, and ‘in our lungs or URTs’. Something I came across:

resp tract infections deaths world map accessed wiki 2017-08-21

resp tract infections deaths world NOTES accessed wiki 2017-08-21




NZ (‘muddy’ yellow) doesn’t fare as well as Australia (bright yellow), which perhaps makes their dominance in Rugby Union even more impressive  ;-).   But, on a serious note, if we drilled down to health outcomes for indigenous Australians, the picture would not be something to be proud of.

According to this article, the 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) infected 500 million people around the world and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Unusually the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults. Some later research found that the virus caused respiratory failure and death in animals through a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body’s immune system). It was then postulated that the strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body. Native Americans were apparently hard hit; I imagine other indigenous peoples were as well.

Continuing on this unhappy but (scientifically) interesting note …

Leading causes of death – USA

Causes Of Death-ten leading -USA

A friend wryly noted that old age is a risk factor for death. (Thanks BG)

Now for something nice..

Pics of the week


15 best jokes from Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/comedy/15-best-jokes-from-edinburgh-fringe-festival-2017-revealed-20170822-gy1zji.html     (Thank-you, KQ)

Why no solar eclipse every month?



SL, Armidale. 24 Aug 2017


ectopic  – Greek: ektop(os) – displaced

fluke (Old English: floc) – a parasitic flatworm typically with hooks and suckers; also denotes a flounder or other flatfish (and presumably liver fluke etc are so named because of the similarity to flounder/flatfish?)

hepatic – pertaining to the liver.  (Gk: hepatikos – of the liver)

lymphadenomegaly – enlargement of lymph nodes   (aden (Gk) – gland.  megas (Gk) – great, huge)

‘natal’ in English has two meanings: relating to birth (Latin, natalis), or relating to the buttocks (Latin, natis = buttock).

teratogen…from Gk teratos – ‘monster or’ ‘marvel’   (gen…from Gk (gignesthai) – be born, produced…hence ‘genesis’)

URT: upper respiratory tract


The problem with political jokes…they tend to get elected..