Are you ready for the grazing season?

Are you ready for  the grazing season? 

Whether earlier or later than planned many of you will be now turning animals out for the summer. In addition to considering the changes in routine and feed you need to consider the parasite issues that you may encounter. Alex Bearman BVetMed MRCVS highlights the dangers of both lungworm in cattle and thinking ahead to your fluke treatment options.

Both of these parasitic diseases cause a large economic impact to the farm, with estimations projecting that lungworm in cattle costs the farmer £50-£100 per beef cow and £140 per dairy cow.  Treating animals with flukicides and anthelmintics is an essential part of maintaining good animal welfare and performance. Combined with seasonal, strategic treatment plans you can look to reduce the risk of resistance  developing for the future. 

LUNGWORM (OR HUSK) is caused by the parasitic worm Dictyocaulus viviparous which can infect cattle of all ages that haven’t been able to build immunity through natural exposure or vaccination. Lungworm is now well established on grazing land across the UK which means that planning control strategies against this widespread disease is important. 

Outbreaks of lungworm can be unpredictable and so vaccination prior to turnout protects a herd from walking into a potential minefield. Without good lungworm control, cattle may be more susceptible to pneumonia after housing. Cattle can produce an immune response to lungworm larvae and adult worms. This immunity can wane after a few months unless cattle are exposed to low-level contamination on the pasture. Routine vaccination should be considered for calves born into a herd with history of lungworm, and is the most predictable method of building herd immunity to protect against lungworm.

Vaccination, such as Bovilis Huskvac, which is given orally (2 doses 4 weeks apart) contains irradiated lungworm larvae which stimulate immunity. A second option is anthelmintics, such as Noromectin Pour On, which can be used strategically in first-year grazing cattle to prevent build–up of larvae on pastures over the grazing season. 

LIVER FLUKE will cause disease and production losses in cattle as well as sheep. Even if it doesn’t kill an animal, it can cause ill health, reduce intakes and hinder growth. Animals with 1-10 fluke present in their liver at slaughter took on average 31 days longer to reach slaughter weight. Those with over 10 took 77 days longer to reach weight.  Fluke is  complicated, with acute fluke and chronic fluke, and immature parasites and adult parasites. 

Trying to understand the best preventative treatment is often complicated as well. Depending on the timing of treatment some liver fluke may have survived to adulthood and now be producing eggs to contaminate pastures for the next season. Not all active ingredients kill all stages of liver fluke, knowing which stage your fluke is at affects  product choice. Checking for fluke eggs before turnout, and treating positive groups with a product to target adult fluke (i.e. containing trialbendazole, oxyclozanide or clorsulon) will help reduce the liver fluke risk to all grazing stock for the autumn fluke season.

We would suggest using Fasinex 240 drench as it is has all the active ingredients required to kill all 3 stages of liver fluke in cattle. For more info, check the updates from COWS and speak to the team at Severn Edge Farm Vets for the best Fluke Drench options for your flock or herd.  


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