With turnout hopefully not too far around the corner, now is the opportune time to get Lungworm control fresh in your minds to avoid losses at a later date.

Lungworm (‘husk’, ‘hoose’ and ‘parasitic bronchitis’) is caused by the parasite Dictyocaulus viviparus. Animals are infected after grazing on contaminated pasture and eating larvae. These larvae then migrate via blood vessels and lymphatic system to the lungs where they break out into the airways, and become egg producing adults. The cycle continues with immature larvae crawling up the trachea, getting coughed up, swallowed and passed out in the faeces again. Lungworm can present in a dramatic fashion, where an airway full of adult worms can lead to severe respiratory distress, or even death! Animals often present at grass with coughing, particularly after running around.

Economic losses result from:

  • Reduced growth rates
  • Lost milk
  • Mortality
  • Treatment and veterinary costs

Although often thought of as a disease of first grazing calves, lungworm has the potential to infect any animal that has not built up immunity following exposure.

The Huskvac vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent lungworm and build up resistance. It’s a two dose vaccine given four weeks apart that can be used in animals eight weeks or over. Animals can then be turned out two weeks later. Some things to consider:

If you have a history of Lungworm cases:

  • Vaccinate first time grazers with two doses starting six weeks prior to planned turnout.
  • Quarantine and treat incoming cattle.

If you haven’t had any Lungworm issues before:

  • Test for Lungworm in last year’s first-time grazer groups (blood or faecal samples) to identify an underlying burden (this is best done as soon as possible).
  • Quarantine and treat incoming cattle.

Speak to your vet or SQP for advice for your herd. If you want to place your Huskvac order, please call the practice and we will organise both doses for you. Remember, the VetTechs can also administer this, so please ask if you want this to be booked in.