Monitor Cattle and Keep Worms in Check

UK – Integrated parasite management plans can beat the challenge of worms on summer pasture, says the Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS) industry steering group.
calendar icon 9 July 2015
clock icon 2 minute read

Great care should be taken with cattle under two years of age, as these are at the greatest risk of succumbing to worm challenges, according to Dr Andy Forbes, COWS technical representative.

Under-dosing leads to anthelmintic resistance, a "major concern" for the cattle industry, according to Dr Andy Forbes

“This is due to younger cattle having less immunity compared to adult cattle and, the potential of being exposed to high risk pastures at turnout,” he said.

He recommends daily live weight gains of at least 0.8 kilo/day over the grazing season, with weighing being a good option to be part of regular monitoring.

This allows the right cattle to be selected for anthelmintic treatment, he added.

“Inaccurately dosing cattle with wormer can have negative impacts on the beef herd, both financially and in terms of welfare and performance.

“Under-dosing leads to poor efficacy when treating cattle for clinical cases, and has also been shown to be a risk factor for the selection of anthelmintic resistance. This is a major concern for the cattle industry and one of the main reasons why COWS was formed.

“On the other hand, over-dosing can lead to issues with meat withdrawal periods being lengthened, and in some cases toxicity.”

To reduce the risk of over-, or under-dosing, Dr Forbes advises that producers must measure cattle live weight, and ensure dosing equipment is calibrated regularly.

“Weighing each animal with a weigh crate or using a weigh band will allow cattle live weights to be recorded accurately. I’d also advise calibrating dosing equipment to ensure animals receive the right dose.

“Following the COWS best practice guidelines and ensuring cattle receive an exact dose of anthelmintic, that corresponds with the recommendations on the product label, will help ensure on-farm worm burdens can be effectively controlled.”


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