Livestock parasites

Parasites are a major cause of disease and production loss in livestock, frequently causing significant economic loss and impacting on animal welfare. In addition to the impact on animal health and production, control measures are costly and often time-consuming. A major concern is the development of resistance by worms, lice and blowflies to many of the chemicals used to control them. 

Planned preventative programs are necessary to minimise the risks of parasitic disease outbreaks and sub-clinical (invisible) losses of animal production, and to ensure the most efficient use of control chemicals.  Integrated parasite management programs aim to provide optimal parasite control for the minimal use of chemicals by integrating pre-emptive treatments, parasite monitoring schedules and non-chemical strategies such as nutrition, genetics and pasture management. 

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development provides recommendations for the most effective approaches to the control of the major parasites of livestock

Articles

  • When the prevalence of sheep lice is high as it is in Western Australia at the present time, there is a greater probability that lice will be present in any flock.

  • The bush tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is a parasite of cattle, sheep and other warm blooded animals.

  • To make sure that any chemical application doesn’t leave you short on protection or break your withholding periods, the Flystrike Chemical Planner (a hand-held paper-based tool) and the Flystrike A

  • Barber's pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is a potentially harmful roundworm parasite of sheep which can cause a disease called haemonchosis.

  • Itch mites are small, barely visible parasites of sheep; they live on the skin surface and cause rubbing and fleece chewing in a small proportion of infested animals.

  • Taenia ovis (otherwise known as Cysticercus ovis, ovis or sheep measles) is a tapeworm parasite which can cause significant economic loss due to the rejection or trimming of sheep

  • The most common lice affecting sheep are body lice (Bovicola ovis).

  • Drench resistance in cattle worms has been found in tests in several countries in recent years, prompting an investigation into the situation in Western Australia.

  • Worm control and drench resistance management in livestock is most efficient and sustainable when there is an indication of the size of worm burdens and the effectiveness of drenches.

  • In 2004, the Australian wool industry agreed to phase out the practice of mulesing.