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

  • Flystrike is a significant health and welfare risk to Australian sheep and costs $280 million annually.

  • 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

  • Treatment of ewes and lambs is more complex than treatment of a mob of single animals because they exist as a unit of two or three animals in close contact rather than individuals within in a mob.

  • The sheep industry relies heavily on drench chemicals to control sheep worms but in Western Australia (WA) worms have become increasingly resistant to drenches.

  • Hydatid disease is a serious human health concern, caused by cysts of the tapeworm parasite Echinococcus granulosus.

  • Lost productivity due to drench resistance in sheep worms has been recognised as a widespread problem in Western Australia (WA) since the 1980s.