Over the last couple of months we are seeing the impact of the earlier dry and lack of feed with parasite levels increasing in all stock, not just young ones.
We have seen a number of sheep Faecal Egg Counts (FECs) coming in where scouring or wasting is occurring in stock, ranging from hoggets through to MA ewes. These FECs have invariably shown high egg counts.
The long dry spell over the summer, with the autumn rains have resulted in ideal conditions for egg and larvae development on the pastures. In combination with this, the shorter grass and lack of feed around meant that stock were grazing to lower levels and ingesting a higher number of larvae, resulting in the conditions we are now seeing. Some of the counts are high enough to be causing deaths in these animals.
If animals are being break fed grass, they will be forced to graze any contaminated pastures to low levels. Those on crop aren’t safe either, especially if there is a lot of grass amongst the crop or around the edges. Stock new to crop will generally eat this first.
We have also been seeing a lot of Salmonella hindmarsh this season and so a lot of sudden death and scouring has been put down to this, but if its occurring in younger animals eg hoggets/calves or wasting is part of the picture then worms is more likely to be a cause. However, high worm burdens can also make an animal more susceptible to getting other diseases such as salmonella infections.
If you are experiencing any problems with scouring, wasting, or dying stock then please contact us at the clinic.
Teressa Skevington BVSc BSc