Tapeworm in Sheep

Drenching is an important tool for a profitable farm and healthy stock.

South Wairarapa Vets stock the full range of Merial Ancare anthelmintics that our clients know and trust (Genesis, Eprinex, Eclipse, First, Exodus, Bionic, Arrest etc) and we do the promotions such as the Christmas ham promotion.

Get us to do faecal egg counts - improve the effectiveness of your drenching. These could be pre drenching (do I need to drench?), after drenching (did that drench work?), or a complete Faecal egg count reduction test.

Recent summary data from a Beef + Lamb sponsored pre weaning lamb drenching trial in the Manawatu has show that:
Roundworm drenches given pre weaning improves:
Dag score
Faecal score
and in this trial, liveweight gain.
It must be noted that the ewes were under significant pressure in this season with low pasture covers and medium to light body condition.

Adding tapeworm drench to the roundworm drench pre-weaning improved:
Dag score
Faecal score
and in this trial, liveweight gain (this is not consistent with numerous other trials)
Lambs naturally develop immunity to tapeworm regardless of treatment.
The effect of the drenches was more substantial on certain farms.
The Drences used were a triple combination +/-  a tape worm control (Praziquantal).
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Our take on this:
For years vets in their training have been reminded that there is no evidence  that tape worms actually have an effect on growth rates of lambs. This study has shown that when ewes are not quite up to scratch and there is feed pressure, lamb liveweights can be improved by removing tapeworms pre-weaning.
Lambs on ewes under pressure have less dags and gain more weight when pre-weaning drenching takes place, and there is more to gain if tape control is used as well.
Depending on the farm, this may happen more often than not, so may pay economic dividends.
Remember to balance costs vs benefits of any drench - yarding during dry dusty conditions may risk pneumonia, and all drenching products have a cost.