Managing Internal Parasites in Cattle

It is important to have a worm control plan for your herd to ensure that your cattle are producing the best yield possible, but simply dosing regularly as a preventative measure is not effective in worm management or in cost. Using the incorrect wormers or using wormers at inappropriate times can cause resistance to build against them within your herd of animals.

How to avoid using wormers unnecessarily?

The best way to ensure you are only dosing your cattle when necessary is through regular testing. Using testing as a way to regularly monitor parasite infection levels/burden in your herd you can administer the correct anthelmintics at the most efficacious time.

When to test your cattle for worms?

 The best answer to this question is you should test your animals for worms as often as possible. At the very least, we recommend that you test your animals before each time you plan to treat them, as you may find that a dose is not required.

You should also be aware of the signs to look out for that may indicate a gut-worm infection in cattle. Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent, watery diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

How to test cattle for worms?

If you suspect that your cattle may have a gut-worm infection, you should consult with your vet about conducting a faecal egg count on your herd. This involves taking a dung sample from the animal(s) you suspect are infected and sending them to a lab to be analysed for worms.

The lab will prepare the faecal sample according to a set protocol and will then examine its contents under a microscope; counting and identifying any eggs that may be present. This will determine the worm burden (measured in eggs per gram) and the results of the investigation will be sent directly to your vet for analysis.

Your vet will advise and consult with you on a parasite-management plan based on the lab results and may conclude that dosing is not required if there is a low burden of infection within your herd.

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