This Scottish summer has meant that cattle are likely to be coming into housing with wet backs and with a potential to be carrying higher-than-average worm burdens. Conditions are also well suited to a higher prevalence of pneumonia.

Housing can be a stressful time for cattle, particularly young stock, and the main aim is to make the transition as smooth as possible. The use of vaccinations and a correct dosing protocol can lower the incidence of disease and the need for emergency veterinary intervention in the coming months.


  • Targeting inhibited larvae of the stomach worm, ostertagiosis. Ostertagi is best to avoid type II ostertagiosis at the end of the housing period. Look at the label on your wormer to check efficacy.
  • Dose at or as near to housing as possible with any suitable product.
  • Ivermectin has a sustained duration of action and can broaden the dosing window.
  • Liver fluke

  • Levels of fluke infection vary regionally and can be estimated using faecal samples, bulk milk results and slaughter house feedback.
  • The life cycle is approximately 12 weeks. If not treating for immature fluke at housing, fluke can survive and grow throughout the housing period.
  • Early immature fluke – use a triclabendazole-based product at least two weeks post housing to allow the immature fluke to reach the age threshold for efficacy.
  • Late immature and adult fluke – numerous products available, but may need a second dose six to eight weeks later. A faecal sample can be taken before second treatment to determine its necessity.
  • Rumen fluke

  • Routine treatment may not be necessary on all farms, it is dependant on region and past clinical history.
  • Faecal samples should be looked at in conjunction with clinical scouring signs.
  • If farms have suspected rumen fluke infection, please consult your vet for further advice .
  • Lice/mange

  • Topical products are best and avoid contact with any untreated animals during housing.
  • Injectable ivermectin can be of benefit where a history of mange is present.
  • January and February are the peak months for lice/mange infections, so prevention is vital.
  • Pneumonia vaccination

  • Housing puts stress on the immune system and it is recommended to vaccinate about two weeks prior to housing.
  • Risk factors for pneumonia include mixing of different age groups, from different sources, changeable weather conditions and stressful events.
  • Housing is a hectic time on farms, but with a little planning and risk analysis the workload in the busy spring period can be dramatically reduced. For a farm-specific worming and vaccination programme, please contact your vet for the best advice.