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Lungworm Warning from SRUC Vets

Published Wednesday, 1st October 2014 in SAC Consulting news


Farmers are warned to be on their guard for lungworm this year.

SRUC Veterinary Services is reporting that diagnostic submissions to its disease surveillance centres and feedback from farm animal veterinary surgeons across Scotland indicate a high number of recent cases.

Clinical signs of lungworm range from severe breathing difficulties and death to increased levels of coughing, milk drop and reduced growth rates in grazing cattle. Some of the outbreaks have involved high numbers of cattle with a mixture of young first grazing and adult cattle affected.

Colin Mason, Manager of SRUC’s Dumfries Veterinary Centre, said: “Based on previous years we would expect to see more cases in years with good summer weather and grass growth. The extended grazing period results in a greater risk of exposure to lungworm larvae on the pasture. The wetter weather in August will have favoured parasite survival and spread on the pasture adding to the risk.

“In addition immunity to the parasite is variable in many herds in any age of cattle due to a reduced uptake of the vaccine, increased use of wormers in young stock rearing and potentially more housing of adult cattle with less opportunity to boost immunity.”

SRUC is urging producers to consider the risk of lungworm in their grazing cattle, particularly if weather conditions favour grazing later into the autumn. They should consult their vet about preventative and treatment options to reduce losses. In addition, they are advised that removing lungworm burdens at or prior to housing will be particularly important for autumn pneumonia control programmes along with vaccination this year.

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