Advice on treating ewes for worms

David Clarke from Toye, Co Down, pictured with Maura Langan, Norbrook Veterinary advisor.
David Clarke from Toye, Co Down, pictured with Maura Langan, Norbrook Veterinary advisor.

David Clarke from Toye, Co Down runs a flock of 300 Texel cross bred mules.

David favours this breed of ewe for her mothering ability and docility.

He also likes to breed his own replacements and feels that keeping a relatively closed flock helps to prevent the introduction of disease onto his farm.

In preparation for tupping most ewes receive a worm treatment and David ensures that ewes are in the correct Body condition score. Ewe lambs receive a vaccination for enzootic abortion and Toxoplasmosis a month or so before the breeding season.

David feels good management in the Autumn means a smoother transition into the busy spring period. The next few weeks are likely to be just that… very busy as the flock is due to lamb in mid-March. Recently David took some time out to talk to Maura Langan Norbrook Veterinary advisor.

The topical subject of treating ewes for worms before lambing and the benefits of such a treatment was discussed. The treatment of ewes around lambing serves to deal with the Periparturient rise (PPR) in faecal egg counts, a phenomenon that is well documented to occur in sheep.

Maura explains: “Ewes around the time of lambing suffer a temporary loss in immunity and lowered resistance to gutworm infestations. This is known as the “Periparturient Rise” in faecal worm egg counts.”

Essentially it is an increase in worm faecal egg counts from late pregnancy to six weeks post lambing. For most of the year, the immune system of adult ewes is competent enough to prevent gut worms maturing and producing eggs. But in late pregnancy the increased demands of the growing lambs causes the ewe’s immune system to relax. A relaxation in immunity in adult ewes to gutworms means there is an increased output of eggs onto the pasture. What is of significance is that under typical spring weather these eggs will develop into infective larvae in as little as three weeks. It is these larva that are the major source of gutworm infections for young lambs. David is well aware of the impact that the PPR will have on his worm control programme on the farm.

Maura points out that young lambs will be starting to pick at grass at the same time as the eggs are becoming infective on pasture. For this reason David takes steps to minimise the level of pasture contamination for his lambs by treating the ewes.

The protocol to deal with the PPR on this farm, is that ewes are injected with Closamectin Injection for Cattle and Sheep a month before lambing when all ewes are housed for lambing.

David likes this approach as all ewes can be treated on the same day.

Closamectin Injection for Cattle and Sheep will control the Perparturient rise and it also has the added benefit of treating late immature and mature fluke as well as aiding in the control of scab.

The simple choice for parasite control at lambing:

- Closamectin Injection affords ultimate protection for ewes at Lambing

- Effective wormer - Controls the Periparturient rise in ewes - thereby reducing pasture contamination by ewes around lambing

- Eggs passed by ewes around lambing is the main source of pasture contamination for lambs

- Kills late immature and adult fluke

- Has a stunting effect on early immature fluke, which reduces their size and egg laying capacity

- Kills triclabendazole-resistant fluke

- Licensed for control of scab

- Quick and easy administration