Lungworm outbreaks in cows can cost €160/cow – is it time to vaccinate?

Lungworm outbreaks in adult cows can cost €160 per cow, according to Fergal Morris of MSD Animal Health.

He says that this is due to increased mortality, treatment costs and reduction in milk yield.

“Milk yield can be reduced by up to 6L/cow/day from the time of first clinical signs until final diagnosis and treatment.

“It also could potentially contribute to a loss of body condition and a drop in fertility, leading to a longer calving interval and increased culling rate.

“In severe cases, animals will die hence the increased interest in lungworm vaccination schedules in 2016.”

Morris said it was time to consider vaccination on Irish farms.

“In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of lungworm in adult cattle in Ireland, UK and Europe.

Many dairy farmers are experiencing coughing cows while at pasture in the summer and autumn months of the year.

“The use of long acting anthelmintics may be preventing the development of immunity to lungworm, while the higher incidence of lungworm in adult cows has resulted in an increased interest in lungworm vaccination.”

MSD is organising a meeting in Fermoy Mart, Cork, to discuss lungworm on Tuesday, January 19.

From 7pm the meeting will hear from Professor Neil Sargison, Edinburgh Veterinary College, who will look at disease risks, while Doreen Corridan, Munster AI, will look at vaccination and worming programmes.