UK – Controlling the most unpredictable parasite is best done through vaccination but anthelmintics work well when lungworm is caught early.
Many farms turning out over the coming weeks mean it is currently an appropriate time to consider lungworm control, advises Peers Davies, livestock veterinarian at ProOvine and Nottingham University.
He is telling farmers to look out for tell-tale signs of the parasite in cattle, as part of the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) March outlook. However, he stressed they are harder to find in sheep.
“Its important in vaccinated stock that clinical signs are recognised early, this is normally coughing, particularly after exercise after being moved,” said Mr Davies.
“Animals standing with their neck extended having difficulty breathing should always be considered as being potential lungworm cases.”
He stressed that, while lungworm is primarily a cattle challenge, a different species of worm can cause lungworm in sheep.
“We don’t generally recognise it as frequently as we do in cattle,” he added. “Clinical signs are often milder in most cases but you can get some severe infections which cause mortality and significant production losses.”
Lungworm can cause a problem all year round in cattle but it usually flares up between June and September with a late summer peak, added Mr Davies.
"Vaccination of cattle over two months old against lungworm requires two doses four weeks apart with the second dose at least two weeks before turnout or weaning," he added. "Cattle with a history of respiratory disease should not be vaccinated against lungworm."
Photo courtesy of NADIS.