Internal parasites

Internal parasites pose a significant economic risk to primary producers as worm burdens can significantly impact the growth and productivity of a young herd. Various gastrointestinal worms are found in cattle with location and climate determining which species are most likely to be present. In tropical coast areas of Queensland, common species include the following:

  • Barbers pole worm (Haemonchus placei)

  • Nodule worm (Oesophagostomum radiatum)

  • Small intestinal worms (Cooperia species)

  • Stomach fluke (Calicophoron calicophorum)

  • Lungworm (Dictyocaulus viviparus)

Gastrointestinal worm infections may be suspected based on several indicators, such as poor growth, scouring, weight loss, pale mucous membranes, bottle jaw, an increased tail in the mob and faecal egg counts.

The prevention of gastrointestinal worm infections should be approached in an integrated manner. The following points on drenching and husbandry should be considered:

  • Good grazing management - rotational grazing which will allow paddocks to be spelled

  • Knowledge of the species that occur in the area and high-risk seasons

  • Monitor the worm status of livestock regularly, especially high-risk stock

  • Isolation/biosecurity plan for incoming stock (i.e. Treat on arrival and confine to quarantine paddock)

  • Provision of adequate nutrition

  • Strategic use of drenches with selection of a dual active product

In Tropical North Queensland, it is recommended that weaners/yearlings undergo a strategic worm treatment in May – June, then additional treatments in spring and the following autumn as required. A single treatment for stomach fluke should also be administered in August/September. As with other species, worm resistance poses a significant issue within the cattle industry, particularly in herds where single active products have been used consistently. To prevent worm resistance in your herd, ask your vet about a suitable worming protocol.

External parasites

Common external parasites for cattle in north Queensland include

  • buffalo fly

  • lice

  • cattle tick

  • paralysis tick

These can be treated using a variety of strategies, including pour on, injectable, plunge dips/race sprays or ear tags. Please give us a call to discuss the most effective use of parasite treatments for your herd.