Parasite Treatment: Living in the Bay of Plenty brings with it stunning weather (for the most part!) and ideal conditions for all manner of plants to grow in abundance. However with such warm and moist weather, young stock need to eat a lot of grass to meet their growing requirements and will be exposed to “Plenty of Worms” so to speak. These internal parasites do a lot of damage to young animals in particular, which makes autumn an important time to have a worming control program in place.

Following repeated exposure to worms, cattle and sheep generate an acquired immunity. This is why adults are less likely to need drenching, unlike young stock that does in order to grow to their full potential. Horses and goats on the contrary may never acquire adequate immunity to worms and therefore in general need drenching periodically throughout their lives.

With the wide range of topography in the Bay of Plenty ideally each species and each specific environment needs a worm control program tailored to its specific needs. In general there are some common strategies that can be employed as follows.

  1. Prevention of disease is better than treating stock that is already sick. With warm temperatures parasites grow faster and start breeding sooner, which allows worm populations to become plentiful both inside animals and on pasture. Once populations reach dangerous levels, young stock will ultimately show signs of diarrhoea, poor growth, sickness and even death. Worms typically have a life cycle of about three weeks, therefore drenching every four weeks, especially in lambs, is crucial to keep worm populations under control.
  2. Appreciate what level of challenge and type of worms are present. Whether you are new to a property or it has been a while since a check has been done, it makes sense to send in some faecal samples to the clinic for a faecal egg count (FEC) at the lab. The FEC can provide guidance as to the type of worm control required and should be done prior to drenching of stock.
  3. Use the correct drench in terms of type, dose rate and frequency to best counter worms on your property. A post drench FEC sample (“Drench check”) is recommended 7-10 days after drenching preferably at the start of autumn to assure the drench is working well.

Our clinic staff is willing and able to assist you with this important challenge. Pop in and see us.

Phil Rennie BVSc MANZCVS