Ensuring all incoming sheep are quarantined for at least three weeks is crucial if the industry is to maintain momentum for sheep scab eradication, according to an independent sheep consultant.

Flocks are at their most vulnerable to scab when sheep are brought into the flock, Lesley Stubbings explains.

“Every sheep coming onto the farm is a real threat and must be tackled responsibly. A minimum quarantine period of three to four weeks is essential.”

She also recommends treating with yellow and clear wormer to remove resistant worms and if possible, treating for scab.

Producers are urged to work with their vet to ensure accurate diagnosis of ectoparasite problems within the flock, as to not encourage drug resistance.

“It is vital that control options, such as OP dip, pour-ons and injectables are used carefully and not used as a blanket approach.”

Due to the introduction of genuinely closed-transfer systems within OPs, dippers can no longer come into direct contact with diazinin concentrate which has resulted in no further human adverse reactions reports to the VMD, according to independent vet Chris Lewis.   

“Plunge dipping with an OP is still the gold standard sheep parasite control with no recorded resistance,” he adds.

“If used correctly, dips can eradicate scab and protect against further infestation for up to four weeks.”

Alongside providing effective blowfly control, OPs also kill any scab mites persisting on the body during warmer months. “Mites are found in the groin, around the tail, near the eyes and in the ears.

If the temperature falls, mites will migrate back to the body to cause clinical scab,” says Mr Lewis.

As the condition is highly contagious, these carrier sheep become a source of infection for the entire flock, and account for new infection in apparently isolated flocks, he adds.