Animal health

Drought and the impact on worm infection

Climate conditions have been challenging all around the world this year. The UK has had some very hot periods and has officially been in drought for months. The latter is likely to continue into 2023 even with more rainfall recently. It is having a big impact on agriculture and could even lead to a need to use more wormer on livestock to protect production.

What is the issue?

Most people would think that drought would make it harder for worms and other parasites to survive. After all, it is hotter and drier than usual. That makes it more challenging for all living things. However, the survival of infective larvae in dung can actually increase.

There is also a higher risk of animals coming into contact with larvae. The biggest problem with drought is it makes grass and forage grow slower. Typically the highest concentration of larvae will be in the lowest two to three inches, closest to the ground. Pastures will be eaten down closer to the ground than usual here because of the lack of growth. So, animals are more likely to pick up the larvae.

In addition, the conditions reduce the quality of the forage and can mean animals don’t get the right level of nutrition. That in turn can weaken the immune system. As a result, the ability to protect against parasites reduces. It raises the chance of infestation. If that happens there is a further hit to the immune system, increasing the risk of infections and disease.

What to do?

Unfortunately you can’t control the weather and bring an end to the drought. However, you can do a number of things to protect animals. Firstly, you should look at their diet and see if you need to add more feed or supply more high quality forage to account for the pasture conditions.

Next you may need to use a wormer. A combination treatment will usually be best here, including a white dewormer and a clear one. This approach can kill parasites affecting animals and also make dung toxic to insects.

In addition, you should be more careful with pasture management. The goal here is to limit overgrazing and maintain forage heights. You can do this with careful monitoring and proper rotation.

Finally, it can be a good idea to do diagnostics of animals and pastures. What this can do is give you more info about the type of parasites you are dealing with. In turn it can help you to ensure you have a suitable deworming plan.

Talk to us if you need wormer

One of the most important things here is to use the right products to deworm animals. You also need to ensure you don’t rely too much on one single type because it can become less effective. A great opportunity is you can come to us for advice and access to a range of products. We have great knowledge of different dewormers to share with you.

So, if it involves wormer, contact us. We can support you at any time, including if drought is causing you issues.