Friday, 03 July 2020 12:12

Monthly dog dosing will close measles gap

Written by  Staff Reporters
Ovis management’s Dan Lynch says it is a big mistake for sheep farmers to reduce on-farm dog treatments Ovis management’s Dan Lynch says it is a big mistake for sheep farmers to reduce on-farm dog treatments

Requiring that all dogs on sheep farms be treated every four weeks for sheep measles is a significant step in reducing the impact of the parasite, says Dan Lynch.

Lynch, project manager, Ovis Management Ltd, says the change – as part of the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme – means a gap in national sheep measles control is being closed even further. 

He says one of the challenges with reducing sheep measles levels is that surveys show farmers buying in store lambs to finish have a higher prevalence than those finishing their own lambs.

“This is occurring despite the fact that the surveys show both groups are getting the same level of control,” Lynch adds. 

“This leads to a situation where the store lamb finisher is contacted about their high prevalence at processing. However, the problem is with the breeder, who is out of the feedback loop.”

He says this is further complicated by the fact that, in nearly all cases, store lines are mixed – so the identity of the originating farm is lost.

“However, most farmers will at some point finish lambs and will likely be part of the NZ Farm Assurance Programme,” Lynch adds. “This means they will be treating their dogs four weekly and reduce the chances that they will unknowingly sell infected lambs to finishers.”

Dan Lynch.

Meanwhile, Lynch adds that the national prevalence of sheep measles for the current processing season, to the end of May, is in line with the record low of last year.

“Although, in recent months, the North Island lamb prevalence is tracking slightly ahead of last year.”

Lynch says that one factor noted during farm visits is farmers who have had few sheep measles in recent seasons have been reducing on-farm dog treatments. 

“Big mistake!” says Lynch. “If you achieve zero or minimal infection levels, protect that achievement by keeping a tight treatment dog access programme in place.”

Key steps for control

• Dose all dogs on-farm, monthly

• Treat all sheep or goat meat by freezing or cooking

• Deter or ban all external dogs from entering farm unless, they have a current treatment certificate.

More like this

Future-proofing NZ's sheep

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics' Low Input Sheep Progeny Trial is identifying the genetics that will future-proof this country's sheep industry.

Drenching - doing it right

Effective and accurate drenching is important for animal health and productivity. It needs strategic decision making and should be part of a parasite management plan.

Shedding Wiltshire's anti wool appeal

Of all the projects Massey University's School of Agriculture has been involved in over the years, it's never had such interest as it has in its Wiltshire breeding programme.

Trial for low methane sheep

Artificial breeding will play a role in accelerating the transition of a proportion of Beef + Lamb New Zealand's (B+LNZ) commercial ewe flock to a low methane emitting flock.

Sheep and dairy numbers fall

Climate change activists, who believe NZ is going to hell in a handcart due to the methane emissions from the country's livestock population, will be delighted to learn that these numbers have fallen dramatically.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter