News & Advice

Sheep Measles in Dogs

Nov 21, 2016 | Dry stock, Working Dog

We have just finished the dog vaccination runs and the Raglan clinic alone vaccinated 549 dogs over the 4 days. We realise there may be other dogs not on our runs and some owners who were not able to organise a slot. If you want your dogs to be on the future vaccination runs, let the clinic know now so we can redo our route times while it is still fresh in our minds. We can also vaccinate your cats at the same time.

Worming treatment of all dogs is important for the control of T. ovis (Sheep Measles). Make sure visitors’ dogs and your own dogs have been treated regularly for tapeworms. Dog tapeworms are the cause of Sheep Measles which can be extremely costly in lambs, due to condemning of carcases at the works. Lambs that have low exposure levels rapidly develop immunity but store lambs brought onto farms with a reasonable amount of challenge, could rapidly become highly infected. Sheep Measles eggs in dog faeces will be transported around on sheep’s feet and by flies and when the faeces dry, the eggs can blow in the wind up to 15 kilometres! Interestingly the increasing trend of ‘raw diets’ for pets could exacerbate this issue. Lamb carcases condemned for Sheep Measles can be used for pet food, effectively feeding the infected carcase back to the parasite’s host of choice! If this meat is not frozen, then there is a risk of dog infection. Few pet owners worm their dogs frequently enough to control tapeworm so if you have a farm with adjacent public access this could also be a source of contamination for your lambs.

Cysts are visible in carcases in the early stages (up to day 21 after infection) and then again in the late stages (after 90 days of infection). These late stage cysts are generally dead but can persist for many months. Five or more visible cysts will result in a carcase being condemned. It can therefore be difficult to work out if an infection in store lambs has occurred on your farm or the farm where they were born.

Drontal All Wormer is a very effective treatment in dogs but does not last and frequent dosing is required where dogs are fed on or have access to raw sheep meat. In ideal conditions the dog stage of the lifecycle can be as short as 35 days; that means 35 days after eating Sheep Measles cysts the dogs can be passing Sheep Measles eggs. This explains why we need to give monthly worm treatments to dogs that are fed or have access to sheep meat. Bayer, the manufacturer of Drontal, offers a free mail out service. They will send out the appropriate wormers for your dogs at regular intervals. If you want to take up this service or need to alter the dogs on your record, please contact your local Anexa FVC clinic.

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