Free vet visit on worm issues

Animal Heath Ireland has partnered again with vets to roll out the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH). This programme will provide farmers with a free consultation/farm visit, along with two free faecal samples submitted for analysis from animals on your farm. Antiparasitic resistance is an increasing concern in livestock farming. Resistance is present when a medicine does not kill the target parasites as expected. Every time animals are treated with an anthelmintic (wormer), there is a risk of selecting for resistant worms. Therefore, alternate methods of controlling worms in livestock that do not rely only on dosing (eg. herd or flock health plans, grazing management) should be considered. Multiple factors contribute to the increased risk of resistance and parasite control planning should try to address these, where possible.

The purpose of the Parasite Control TASAH is to facilitate discussions and planning between farmers and their veterinary practitioners on the best practices around parasite control, with the long view of minimising the further development of anthelmintic resistance. The programme is available to all beef and sheep farmers, farming in ROI. The recent change to wet weather after the warm conditions will likely see worm activity increase in the next few weeks. Farmers nominate a trained Private Veterinary Practitioner (PVP) to carry out a herd or flock visit, to look at various aspects of parasite control management on-farm. The vet will make recommendations and conduct two faecal egg count tests for roundworms (stomach or gut worms).

There is no cost to the herd or flock owner, as this is fully funded by the Department of Agriculture. The vet is responsible for taking and submitting the faecal egg samples to the laboratory. He/she will discuss what animals on the farm are best to sample and the correct time to take it. If you registered for the programme in 2022 you will be automatically auto-enrolled for 2023. You can find out more details at

Red Water

This time of year always brings cases of red water, especially where we get a sudden change in weather conditions. The risk period is highest during the summer months when the ticks are most active, but it can occur anytime, so it’s important to be vigilant for signs of this disease. Wet weather conditions mean animals look for shelter in rougher areas of a farm and pick up ticks easily. Bought-in cattle are more prone to red water because they may not have built up immunity on the farm they came from. Ticks are more likely to be present in land with scrub, rushes and gorse, as these are ideal habitats for ticks. Use homebred stock to graze these areas, if you can.

Herd stock regularly and look out for symptoms like red urine, dullness or no appetite, high temperatures, weakness, anaemia and animals standing away from the herd. Veterinary advice should be sought in suspected cases. Animals can be treated to prevent red water. Animals grazing rough areas of the farm should also be treated with an avermectin-based pour-on to help control ticks.