Thursday, June 19, 2014

Moniezia - The Milk Worm

Moniezia is the only adult tapeworm of any interest in sheep. Not because of any damage it causes, but rather because it is somewhat obvious and shepherds tend to worry about it, probably unnecessarily. The adult tapeworms live in the small intestine of young lambs during the summer months of April, May, June, and July; particularly when lambs are grazing but still nursing. They may grow to a length of 4 to 5 meters and also lambs may be infected with several tapeworms at the same time. Segments may be very obvious in the faces. Ribbons of segments may occasionally be seen twirling in the breeze as lambs run behind their mothers. However, despite the fact that at slaughter it may be possible to collect literally a bucketful of these from the guts of only two or three heavily parasitism lambs, they apparently do little harm. Moniezia does not parasite older resistant sheep and generally live for only a few months in lambs. A number of anthelmintics which are used routinely for the control of parasitic gastro-enteritis, such as Albendazole, Fenbendazole, and Oxfendazole, are also effective against Moniezia tapeworm. If lambs are grazing, they will need to be dosed for Nematodirus and if an appropriate wormer is used, it will control both parasites simultaneously.

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