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Worm control in beef cattle
Brown Besier, Principal Veterinary Parasitologist and Jenny Cotter, Veterinary Officer, Albany
Worms and worm disease
against larvae newly picked-up from pasture.
Large burdens of parasitic worms lead to reduced
productivity in cattle. Typical signs are diarrhoea
(white drenches, for example,
The major worm parasite of cattle in winter rainfall
Fenbendazole Oral® Fencare®, Panacur®,
areas is the brown stomach worm, (Ostertagia
Systamex®)—oral drench and rumen injection.
). Other worms are black scour worm
Effective against al adult worms, and about 90
), the thin-necked intestinal
to 95 per cent effective against larval Ostertagia.
), hair worm (Cooperia
(clear drenches, for example,
and the large bowel worm (Oesophagostomum
Levamisole Gold LV®, Coopers Nilverm oral
or pour on® , WSD levamisol®)—oral drench,
‘Winter scours’ often occur in yearling cattle and
injectable and pour on. Less effective against
occasional y in adults. Where brown stomach
adult worms than other types and has a limited
is the main parasite this disease
effect against larval Ostertagia
is referred to as ‘Ostertagiosis’.
Signs typical of worm disease may be due
to other causes. If a drench does not stop
Even if signs of worms are not seen every year,
the scouring or lead to improvement in body
there may stil be a loss of weight gain, which is a
common but hidden cost of parasites. A routine
worm control program is worthwhile insurance,
especially in high and medium rainfall areas.
The ML (macrocyclic lactone) group of drenches
are usual y the most suitable treatments where
Beef calves rarely suffer from worm parasitism
it is important to remove the larval stages of
before weaning and routine treatment is not
for instance, as in a strategic program,
in mid summer. This group of drenches includes
ivermectin, abamectin and moxidectin.
Drench in summer when weaning with an ML
Other types of drenches may be useful for treating or a white drench. If using a white drench, and
disease caused by worms in winter and spring.
worm disease has been a severe problem on the
Residues of some of the ML drenches in cattle
property in past years, a fol ow up should be given
dung may have a harmful effect on dung beetles,
one month later (a single treatment only with an
particularly in the breeding stages. However, dung ML is necessary).
beetles in WA breed mainly in the spring months
when it is not usually necessary to drench cattle.
drenching program provides good control of
There are three major drench groups:
worms in beef yearlings. If there has been a history
(for example, abamectin, Avomec®;
of worm problems on the farm then an additional
drench in May with a white drench or an ML may
Bomectin®; moxidectin, Cydectin®, Cydectin®
formulations. Effective against al adult and
larval stages with some long acting effect
The Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Agriculture and Food and the State of Western Australia accept no liability
whatsoever by reason of negligence or otherwise arising from the use or release of this information or any part of it.
For more information visit www.agric.wa.gov.au
Two year olds/first calf heifers
In some herds these cattle suffer from worm
disease more than the adults. If this is the case, a
routine summer treatment may be warranted.Adult cows
Worm disease is rarely a problem in mature cows
and no routine treatment is recommended. Cases
of disease in individual animals should be treated
when it occurs.Bulls
Bul s suffer from parasitic diseases more than
cows and a routine summer drench is advisable.
As the breeding program depends on the bul s, a
drench before joining may be a good precaution.Ostertagiosis Type 2
A different form of worm disease, ‘Ostertagiosis
Type 2’, can cause severe effects but is fortunately
rare in Western Australia. It occurs when there is
a mass emergence of larval stages of Ostertagia
from the gut wal . This causes severe damage to
the gut, and is seen as profuse scouring, rapid
dehydration and death if not treated. It occurs
especial y in adult cattle, particularly in bul s,
during late summer and autumn.
If this disease is suspected a vet should be
contacted to confirm the diagnosis, discuss
treatment and its prevention.Note:
Mention of trade names does not imply
endorsement or preference of any company’s
product by the Department of Agriculture and
Food, and any omission of a trade name is
unintentional. Recommendations were current at
the time of preparation of this publication.
Copyright Western Australian Agriculture Authority, 2009
Copies of this document are available in alternative formats upon request.
3 Baron-Hay Court South Perth WA 6151Tel: (08) 9368 3333 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.agric.wa.gov.au
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