‘Effective worm control – cattle must be allowed to develop a level of natural immunity’

The ideal approach to controlling lung, gut and stomach worms is to use a wormer that allows some exposure to the worm larvae but kills adult worms before they cause clinical signs of disease, according to Kanturk vet Eamon O’Flynn.

He pointed out that the practice of using injectable or pour-on long-acting anthelmintics in calves during their first grazing season can severely hamper the build-up of immunity to infection, particularly from lungworm, in later life.

“A worm control programme should be directed towards the three main types of parasites. These are lung worms, which cause hoose, stomach worm and gut worms.

“When deciding on the dosing programme, farmers should ask themselves the question: will the product I use control all three parasites? And what affect will it have on the animal’s immunity later in life?”

The cost of lungworm infection in dairy herds is estimated at €160/cow/year. This is mainly due to reduced milk yield which can be up to 6L/cow/day. Hoose also results in body condition loss and a drop in fertility, leading to a longer calving interval and increased culling.

All of this highlights the importance of using a product which allows the calf to develop natural immunity to hoose during its first grazing season.

Eamon said that the Repidose bolus has season-long protection and because of the product’s pulse release system where the anthelmintic is strategically released into the animal’s system.

“The pulse system prevents clinical signs of disease by killing worms every 21 days while, at the same time, enabling calves to generate immunity to gut worms and lungworms.”

Repidose is the only pulse release bolus on the market for the prevention and treatment of lungworms, stomach worm and gut worm according to MSD.

Shane Naughton of MSD Animal Health said the bolus is divided into seven individual chambers and every three weeks, a therapeutic dose of the anthelmintic oxfendazole is released into the animal’s gut.

“This kills worms at all stages of development. During the 21-day interval between doses being released, cattle ingest worms eggs and larvae.

“This allows some exposure of the calf’s immune system to lungworm and stomach larvae thereby enabling the development of immunity without the animal developing clinical signs.”

Shane Naughton of MSD Animal Health said ‘This product is ideal for young dairy and beef stock more than 12 weeks old (> 100kg and < 400kg live weight). It’s perfect for replacement heifers being turned to an out-farm due to its activity for the full grazing season’.

In association with MSD.