Bredy Veterinary Centre Ltd

Parasite Control in Cattle (“COWS”) and Sheep (“SCOPS”)

In the past life was simple, if you had parasites affecting your stock, you killed ‘em.  Now life is more complex.  There’s increasing drug resistance amongst parasites, so control has to be balanced between reducing parasite burdens to acceptably low levels, and maintaining the effectiveness of the treatments we have available.  In other words, tolerating a low level of parasitism.  This means more monitoring of worm burdens by regular faecal egg counts, and deciding on this basis whether to worm or not.

Since the problem of parasites with drug resistance become more apparent in sheep first, the sheep industry responded with “SCOPS” – Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep.  This is available as a manual on-line.  The first edition gave a clear message – don’t treat all your sheep every time – but wasn’t so clear as to how to apply this in practice.  The latest, 4th, edition of June 2012 is much clearer about the practice of the theory.  It’s the required reference for modern sheep management.  You can find it at http://www.scops.org.uk/

There’s now the cattle equivalent, “COWS” – Control of Worms Sustainably.  Funded by EBLEX & DairyCo this is available at http://www.dairyco.org.uk/ though the latest edition of this dates from May 2010.