Worm infestations in livestock

The moist conditions after floods favour the survival of worm eggs and larvae on pasture. Consequently, an increase in worm infestations may occur in the immediate post-flood period while animals are still under stress, and where they may be congregated for feeding or treatments.

Monitoring livestock

It is important that you monitor for signs of worm infestation. Signs include scours/diarrhoea, soiled tails or pale gums. Worm infestations can result in a failure to thrive and, in more serious cases, cause death.

Sheep in particular may fail to move about in the wet conditions, resulting in a considerable build-up of worms in a short period of time. Goats can also succumb rapidly to worm infestations and should be monitored closely.

With cattle, unless already weakened by other diseases, most adult stock will have sufficient immunity to resist infestation, but younger stock are more likely to become infested and show signs of disease and loss of production.

Diagnosis and treatment

If you suspect that worms are an issue, carry out a worm check test for confirmation. Collect about 30 grams (a heaped desert spoon) of fresh faeces in a sample bottle (or small clip seal bag) and chill (don't freeze). Submit this as soon as possible to a veterinary laboratory through your local veterinarian or Biosecurity Queensland officer. To give an indication of worm status, collect 10-20 fresh faecal samples from a mob. If worm infestation is diagnosed, treatment should be given as soon as possible as losses can occur within days.