Emerging parasitic diseases of sheep

26Mar2013

Changes in the presence and distribution of several globally important parasitic infections of sheep might occur as a result of an increase in global trade and climatic changes. And with increasing reports of parasites resistant to all three main anthlemintics the viability of small ruminant industries is under threat. Vigilance, and refinement and development of parasite control strategies are essential to ensure viability of sheep production.

Changes in climate could lead to substantial shifts in the distribution and importance of particular parasites,

Increases in temperatures could result in lengthened fly activity resulting in a higher incidence of strike.

  • Reports of liver fluke are up and drier areas not traditionally associated with fluke, such as Eastern regions of Britain, are showing increased reports. Increases in organic farming, a reduction in the use of herbicides and the ability of animals to gain access to water courses due to an increase in flooding may account for this increase in infection.
  • Increases in numbers of ticks and mites have been reported as a result of a decreased use of organophosphate, due to human health concerns. Consequently this is not only of importance to sheep, but also many other hosts, including increased human zoonotic risks.
  • Coccidiosis in lambs is also of increasing importance in the UK as stocking densities increase and availability of pasture is reduced.

This paper is summarised from BSAS Animal Bytes at: http://www.bsas.org.uk/animal_bytes/emerging-parasitic-diseases-of-sheep/

Full paper: Taylor, M.A. (2012). Emerging parasitic diseases of sheep. Veterinary Parasitology 189, 2-7.