BHC Newsletter Spring FINAL


Parasite Control at Turnout

Dr Natascha Meunier, Beef HeathCheck Programme Manager

Introduction Cattle acquire parasite infections while grazing pastures. This means that turnout is the beginning of the period when animals are exposed to the infective stages of parasites on the pasture. If cattle become infected, it may be several weeks before signs of parasitism are seen. These signs include reduced growth rates, scouring, coughing and reduced fertility. To reduce losses due to poor performance, it is better to implement a parasite control programme before noticeable clinical signs are seen. While it is tempting to treat frequently to counteract any production losses, there is an increased risk of resistance in the long-term if anthelmintics are used incorrectly or over-used. Farmers should work closely with their veterinary practitioner to develop the most suitable parasite control programme specific for their farm conditions. If you suspect that there may be resistance on your farm, consult with your veterinary practitioner as this can be tested by taking faecal samples before and after treatment. To maximise the effectiveness of anthelmintics, ensure that the correct dose is being given according to the weight of the animals. Gut Worms Controllinggutworms dependsoneffectivegrazingmanagement, good nutrition, and the appropriate use of anthelmintics (wormers). Control involves trying to limit the typical increase in parasite contamination on the pastures that is seen as the grazing season progresses.

At the start of the grazing season, cattle are usually susceptible to new infections of lungworm but the highest challenge period is in late summer and autumn. Calves that are turned out onto pastures that were grazed by young animals the previous year are at higher risk of infection. Dairy-to-beef calves are at particularly high risk.



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