Sheep Measles - Is your farm Affected??

The Tararua and Manawatu regions both have a very high incidence of sheep measles – is your farm one of those?

What is sheep measles?

Sheep measles is the common name for the intermediate stage of a tapeworm parasite Cystircercus ovis (C. ovis)). The adult worm lives in the dog, the eggs are passed in the faeces and then ingested by the sheep where they form cysts in the muscle, dogs that eat raw affected meat continue the cycle. See diagram one below.

Is it an issue?

While sheep measles do not affect the health of the sheep they do affect the presentation of the carcass and therefore can result in the rejection of your meat by some markets. The presence of sheep measles also results in significant carcass trimming and hence less money in your pocket!

Within the Tararua and Manawatu areas over 40 farms in each district have recently been notified that they have a sheep measles issue on their farm – were you one of them? Checking your kill sheets is a good place to start to assess if you are having an issue.

 

How to prevent sheep measles

1.       Regular worming

All dogs need to be wormed three monthly with Drontal Allwormer®. On properties that have sheep measles issues dogs also need to be wormed monthly with Droncit®.

2.       Prevent scavenging

Scavenging allows the lifecycle to continue. Bury or remove dead stock as soon as possible.

3.       Outside dogs

Ensure ALL dogs that enter your property have been correctly wormed at least three to four days BEFORE they arrive. Pet and/or hunting dogs are often a problem in regards to introducing sheep measles onto a property.

4.       Correct meat handling

Meat fed to dogs, such as home-kill, needs to be correctly handled to kill any cysts in the meat. Meat needs to be frozen at -10°C for at least seven days prior to feeding, and all offal needs to be cooked.

If you are having a sheep measles issue enquire with us – we can help.