8 March 2002

Dont pay the price of overwintered worms

AS day length increases and temperatures rise, beef producers failing to worm store cattle before housing could pay the price as over-wintered worm larvae burrow through gut walls causing scouring and sometimes death.

That is the warning from Keith Cutler of Salisbury-based Endell Vet Group. "This condition, known as type II ostertagiasis, begins in late summer when grazing cattle gradually take in worm larvae. Instead of developing into adult worms, some burrow into gut walls forming a cyst.

"As spring approaches, larvae burrow out of the cyst over a short period causing severe damage to gut walls and heavy scouring. Cattle rapidly lose weight and can die in two days," says Mr Cutler.

Although worming at housing is the best option, it is not too late to worm cattle and prompt action should be taken if any animals begin to scour, he advises. "Cattle wormed at housing will perform better during the winter period, although producers may have cut this drench for economic reasons.

"But leaving worming until now means the same outlay without additional winter performance."

To prevent type II ostertagiasis, cattle should be given a wormer from the benzimidazole or avermectin group, he says. &#42