Vet Watch – Worming on the agenda


Jon Reader Kingfisher

Jon Reader

Vet Group, Crewkerne, Somerset

Turnout for youngstock is just around the corner. Have you reviewed your worming strategy?

It is important to remember control of lungworm and gut worms should be considered differently. Gut worms tend to be well controlled in first year grazers by boluses or timed anthelmintic treatment.

Only a few lungworm larvae are required to initiate a problem and this can happen at any time when conditions are right. The best way of controlling lungworm is by vaccination.

But calves will still need a trickle of challenge to maintain immunity. On some units gut worm control is almost too good and immunity to lungworm may not be built up. In this case vaccination in the second year should not be ruled out.


Andrew Schofield

andrew schofield

Minster Vet Practice

We probably hold at least half a dozen farmer meetings each year. The most recent meeting was on SCOPS – Sustainable Control Of Parasites in Sheep – a bit of a mouthful, but something relevant to all UK sheep farmers.

Resistance to wormers is an increasing problem, particularly to white drenches. Worms in younger lambs can reduce growth rates by 50%, with no overt clinical signs, such as scouring.

But when they reach 4-5 months old lambs have immunity to most worms.

SCOPS relies far more on targeted treatments, in particular monitoring flocks with worm egg counts (pooled sample from 10 lambs) so treatment is only given when required.

All sheep farms should have a worming strategy in place and regularly review their anthelmintic use with their vet.


Robert Smith

robert smith

Farm First Vet Services

The sudden change in late March from relatively mild settled weather here in Wales to cold, wet weather seems to have precipitated an outbreak of cold cow syndrome on one dairy farm.

The farmer woke one morning to find one cow down and four more with milk drop, lack of apetite, wobbliness and profuse non-smelly diarrhoea. After looking at the cows we decided this was a case of cold cow syndrome, with cows appearing drunk and wobbly with terrible scours and no increased temperature. The most likely cause of this condition is thought to be intakes of high levels of soluble carbohydrates, but other suggestions include oestrogenic compounds in plants or mycotoxins.



Neil Laing

neil llang

Clyde Vet Group, Lanark

We are in the middle of spring work despite there not being much spring weather, well not in Lanarkshire anyway.

Cold weather has meant ewes having more problems than they normally would.

They came through winter in better condition than expected, but a severe lack of grass has led to cases of twin-lamb disease.

The last time we had a similar spring was two years ago when we saw a huge increase in coccidiosis in lambs. This was mistaken for nematodiriasis, which presents similarly and is more likely after a late spring.

A faecal sample should be taken from affected lambs before any treatment is started to differentiate between the conditions, but both of them respond well to the correct therapy.

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