Tackle parasites at housing to avoid losses

17 Oct 2019

Producers are being reminded of the importance of treating first- and second-season grazing heifers at housing for gutworms, as well as all infected cattle for fluke, to prevent problems getting out of control and causing production losses.

West Sussex-base vet Maarten Boers, from The Livestock Partnership, says that using a knockout treatment for gutworms at housing for first season grazing cattle is important due to their lack of immunity to kill off the infective larvae, which can go on to have catastrophic consequences on their health and production.

Production losses

“They don’t have immunity to fight off worm infections in the same way that mature cattle can. If you don’t treat them effectively at housing, then you will see production losses.”

Mr Boers also recommends that producers test for fluke and, if in any doubt, to treat all ages of stock. But he also stresses the importance of using the correct product.

Immature larvae

“We still come across problems where producers have used a flukicide and it doesn’t solve the problem because, for example, it only kills mature larvae, when in fact it is the immature larvae they are trying to kill. So always speak to your vet or SQP about  which product is best to use.”

Zoetis vet Dr Dave Armstrong adds that both internal and external parasites must be accounted for at housing. He says that, unless cattle are still covered by a previous treatment, animals should be ‘cleaned out’ with a persistent product prior to housing to give them enough time for their immune systems to recover so they have a smooth transition.

Suppress appetite

“Using a wormer post housing has very limited value because worms suppress appetite, lowering the chances of a successful transition to the winter diet. This can result in a growth-rate check at housing.”

He agrees that producers should speak to their vet or SQP about the best worming options for their farm. “Where mixed parasite burdens are an issue then using a product that contains moxidectin and triclabendazole, as a simple rain-fast pour-on, can provide a single-product solution.

Smooth transition

“The moxidectin gives five weeks cover against lung and stomach worms, aiding that smooth transition to housing and winter rations.

“And the triclabendazole in the pour-on gives the greatest spectrum of activity against the different maturities of fluke of any pour-on, without the complications of having to drench the cattle.”