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Sustainable Roundworm Control in Cattle

About Sustainable Roundworm Control in Cattle

The disease caused by gastro-intestinal roundworm infections is known as parasitic gastroenteritis (PGE).  PGE is a dose-dependent condition (the is, influenced by infection level) which is caused by a range of parasitic round worms that can impact on the performance and productivity of livestock.

PGE is a disease complex characterised by symptoms such as diarrhoea, dehydration, ill-thrift, inappetence, weight loss and/or anaemis.  Infections range from:

  • Acute – where death may occur
  • Chronic – where production losses and premature culling may occur
  • Sub-clinical – where the impact of productively is insidious and difficult to diagnose

Key Points

  • There are a variety of roundworm species that can impact on the health, welfare and productivity of cattle
  • Timings of exposure to roundworms are very dependent on the enterprise type and calving regime untaken
  • Grazing stock can take up to two grazing seasons to acquire adequate immunity and this young calves are at greatest risk of succumbing to infection
  • Anthelmintics (wormers) are the major control option available for the treatment of gastro-intestinal roundworms; however, the worms are developing resistance to some of these anthelmintics
  • Grazing management and the use of diagnostics tools for monitoring are important in reducing anthelmintic requirement and preserving efficacy
  • Treat bough-in stock and animals that have been grazed off farm with two different wormer classes that are effective and where possible yard animals for at least 24-48 hours prior to turnout
  • Check treatment has worked using a faecal egg count reduction test or post drench efficacy check
  • Turn out quarantine treated stock onto dirty pastures to ensure that any resistant surviving worms form a minor proportion of the total on pasture population
  • With your veterinary practitioner or animal health advisor, plan a strategic parasite control that enable you to target treatments. Avoid frequent drenching by integration with grazing management


Research at Moredun

  • Assessing the round worm composition and white drench resistance prevalence associated with animal movements
  • Investigating ivermectin insensitivity in bovine lungworm (Dictyocaulus viviparous) and Ostertagia
  • Refining mechanistic models in conjunction with University of Liverpool to improve round worm epidemiology predictions, now and in the futre
  • Interacting with cattle farmers to co-design user friendly roundworm control and biosecurity recommendations

Our Experts

Dave Bartley


Beth Wells


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