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

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

  • 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.

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

  • Sheep farmers can save money and time eradicating new lice infestations by taking simple biosecurity measures that become part of normal management programs.

  • Gastro-intestinal worm infections in sheep are a major cause of lost productivity to the Western Australian (WA) sheep industry and control has become more complex due to widespread drench resistan