Storms may raise lungworm threat, farmers warned

Thunderstorms and heavy rain that swept across the UK in recent weeks could increase the threat of lungworm, farmers are being warned.

According to the latest NADIS Parasite Forecast the hot weather in June and July reduced the incidence of lungworm.

However, the heavy downpours that followed could result in faecal pats breaking up and distributing larvae onto pasture, experts say.

Symptoms of lungworm:

  • Increased breathing rates
  • Coughing
  • Rapid loss of condition
  • Reduction in milk yields
  • Death in severe cases

Fiona Mac Gillivray, Merial Animal Health’s veterinary adviser, says: “Lungworm should be treated as soon as possible after its onset in order to limit the risk of permanent lung tissue damage.”

She advises that the whole herd should be treated with a product that provides persistent protection against re-infection.

Meanwhile the forecast predicts a reduced snail infection rates and a lower risk of parasitic gastroenteritis (PGE) among sheep, although NADIS say there’s no room for complacency as previously fluke levels have been very high.

Blowfly strike risk in lambs is expected to continue throughout August, but the challenge in adult sheep will be less likely following shearing.

Details of this month’s forecast can be found at

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