19 August 1997

Action on lamb worms

SHEEP producers should check dung samples of dirty tailed lambs, or those in poor condition which are slow to finish, to assess worm risks.

The advice follows reports of severe parasitic gastroenteritis caused by heavier worm burdens than usual due to the wet and warm conditions.

Independent vet consultant Tony Andrews advises worming lambs at grass or checking dung samples for infection.

says the disease at its worst is being seen as severe scour and a marked loss of condition in some groups. This is especially so when lambs are on pasture grazed earlier in the season and have picked up worms from that.

"But more often it is being seen as tail end lambs which are just not fattening," says Dr Andrews. "It would be advisable to worm lambs still being kept outside or check dung samples to see if they are infected."

When worming is necessary he suggests an appropriate wormer is used. The lambs should then be put on a pasture which is considered to be less contaminated, or better still housed.

However, when animals are housed or given extra concentrates to finish them, introduce them slowly to avoid acidosis, he advises.