Farmers are being encouraged to include parasite control in their herd health plans, in an updated technical guide, which also provides the latest advice on resistance.
The Control of Worms Sustainably in cattle group (COWS) published updated chapters of its parasite control guide at the Animal Health Distributors’ Association conference. The guidance is available from the COWS website: cattleparasites.org.uk
One of the biggest changes to the content relates to resistance. Professor Diana Williams from the University of Liverpool explains: “We know a lot more about liver fluke resistance to products containing triclabendazole than we did five years ago…
“Triclabendazole resistance has now been reported in cattle in the UK, so it is vital that the resistance status is established for each farm before a control programme is developed. A Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT) can be used, especially where there are also sheep. If there is resistance, a plan using alternative products must be drawn up.”
Prof Williams also encouraged farmers to include parasite control in their herd health plans. “We want farmers to take a strategic approach to parasite control,” she says. “Having a plan minimises the risk of infections and prevents ‘fire-brigade’ treatments when vets have to be called in to treat sick animals.”
Updated sections on round worms, lungworm, liver and rumen fluke, as well as ectoparasites such as flies, lice and ticks, provide a sound basis for advice for farmers and their advisers. Each chapter includes life cycles, clinical signs, high risk conditions, diagnosis, testing, treatment, control and quarantine.
The section on rumen fluke is also more comprehensive than when the original COWS guide was written more than 20 years ago, the group says. The guidance was last revised in 2014.
New chapters have been updated by research groups from universities across the UK. Each topic was edited by vet Andrew Montgomery, working with researchers including Prof Williams and Dr John McGarry from the University of Liverpool, and Professor Eric Morgan from Queen’s University, Belfast.