Diary

Our lambs have tapeworm!RSS feed

Monday 26 August, 2013

by Rosemary at 9:37am in Sheep 3 comments Add your own

Back in June, when we gave the lambs their second Heptavac injection (A sheepy week), we did a faecal worm egg count, which indicated that there was a potential Nematodirus issue. We treated with Panacur and a subsequent f.e.c. 14 days later (15th July) showed no Nematodirus and a low level of round worm and tapeworm.

We’re preparing to wean the lambs and will give them a fluke drench then, but decided to f.e.c. before deciding whether or not to worm.

So, got the results back – no Nematodirus (yay!), no fluke eggs (means nothing), medium level of roundworm eggs and high tapeworm. So we need to worm, for sure. Although tapeworm doesn’t cause disease in lambs, it does inhibit growth and we don’t want that!

I’ve consulted our vet about a suitable wormer – the ones we have used in the past aren’t effective against tapeworm – and we’ve to use one with albendazole as the active ingredient.

A search in NOAH for albendazole threw up Albex 2.5% or 10% - the 10% one does cattle as well as sheep. Albex (I’d never heard of it before) works against tapeworm, roundworms and adult fluke, and is also effective against fluke eggs and worm eggs. It contains selenium and cobalt and since we’re in an area where the soil is deficient in almost every trace element, this seems to be a positive thing.  And it’s cheap.

Of course, there may be issues of resistance (it’s a white wormer) so we will do a second f.e.c. 14 days after administering the wormer to check effectiveness. But on balance, Albex seems to be the thing we need, so I’ve ordered a litre.

As soon as it comes, we’ll get the lambs drenched and weaned.

Although I know it’s the right thing to do, I’m not sure that f.e.c. are cost effective for small numbers of stock. At £8.50 a go (via Westgate Laboratories, about whom I have no complaints as they provide a great service), it would be cheaper just to worm willy-nilly. But we’ll do the right thing anyway.  :-)

Comments

SallyintNorth

Monday 26 August, 2013 at 10:29am

The other good thing about Albex is it's short withdrawal, so is generally the wormer of choice for fat lambs.

The thing that bothers me about using FECs (and not worming unless they show a reason to do so) is lungworm. Most of the wormers will kill lungworm but provide little ongoing protection. However in a flock which is regularly wormed, the lungworm don't build up to a level which would cause a problem to an otherwise healthy lamb. If the flock isn't being wormed because the FEC isn't showing roundworm or tapeworm, then the lungworm are never being cleared out.

Rosemary

Monday 26 August, 2013 at 12:05pm

Hmm, interesting. I'll run this past our vet.

It's never been an issue for us as we've never NOT had to worm the lambs at least once and ewes are routinely done at lambing.

Looks like it's mainly a problem in lambs / hoggs that haven't built up resistance; main symptom is coughing when the animals are stirred up but can have serious consequences including pneumonia.

I assume that the eggs of lungworms aren't picked up by f.e.c.?

ffermwr1

Saturday 26 October, 2013 at 2:51pm

The boffins at Aberystwyth say get out with a ruler ,take 20 readings of grass height.Graze grass down to 4cm height and try to not let grass grow over 10cms. Under 4cms the sheep cannot eat enough for a bellyfull. Over 10cms and the bottom leaves wil die and dead grass id not much good as opposed to green leafy stuff. Follow these rules and you cannot go wrong.

Remember to scan the sheep at the right timer because twin bearing ewes gannot live on grass alone and will die of twin lamb disease. I have a large amount of sheep and will adopt this system next spring.

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