It’s time to start thinking about Barbers pole again. The larvae will have been surviving on pasture for the summer waiting for the first February rains to develop to the infective stage. This means they will all hatch at once, and these warm conditions enable each female worm to produce thousands of eggs per day. The challenge in February can be massive and sudden! This also means that sheep can get reinfected mere days after using a short acting drench, so it is important to consider long acting drenches such as those containing Closantel or Moxidectin, if meat withhold is a consideration.
Barbers pole is one of the worst parasites sheep are faced with. They survive longer on pasture, breed faster, hatch and develop faster and take fewer worms to cause a significant impact on each sheep.
It is important to remember that scouring is not a sign of Barbers pole so we cannot wait to see dirty tails before drenching. The worms attach directly to the stomach lining and feed on blood so what we see is related to the anaemia caused after too many worms have taken too much blood. Sheep will be slow, weak and lethargic, may collapse or simply be found dead. The reduction in weight gain of lethargic lambs is also a significant cost that is often overlooked.
You may be happy with your current protocol for preventing Barbers pole, but remember that every season is different. Different weather conditions, shortage of feed etc. can increase the risk of clinical Barbers pole in your flock. If you have any questions about Barbers pole, contact your local An