Is your wormer still working?
In 1981, Kerry won the four in-a-row and Offaly claimed its first Senior All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. That year also saw a massive breakthrough in the treatment of worm infections in livestock when ivermectin became available for use by farmers all over the world. At that time, Ivermectin offered better and more convenient control of worm infections compared to the white and yellow drench products that were already available
Fast forward 37 years and farming practices have changed considerably, with higher stocking densities, tighter grazing schedules and much less labour. This has led to increased production, with better grass management and genetics but at a cost; there is now an increased exposure to worms on pastures and resistance to some of the wormers is occurring.
Recent research on 16 of the BETTER Farms (Beef Programme) looked at the effectiveness of some wormers, and the daily live weight gain when worms were controlled effectively. On all 16 farms studied it was clear that ivermectin was not working. The ivermectin products used simply were not providing the level of worm control required, because the worm populations on these farms have become resistant to ivermectin.
On one of the farms studied the ivermectin treated calves were 7kg lighter at the end of the month long trial, which in the bunch of 39 calves was equivalent to a loss of 273kg, which is almost the same loss as having a dead calf every month!
So, resistance to wormers is an issue, and there is evidence that the ivermectin products, regardless of brand are simply not working as well as they once did.
So what are the alternatives? Reduce stock numbers? Organic farming? Well, the older white and yellow drenches are still available but as they only kill worms on the day of use they don’t offer the most practical solution, given farmer’s existing workload. Newer products such as Cydectin and Dectomax are viable alternatives; offering persistent killing of worms and no evidence of resistance.
Cydectin contains moxidectin which is very different to ivermectin. It is available in both a long acting injection which provides worm cover for 120 day or a pour on formulation.
Cydectin 10% long acting wormer injection is a convenient, labour efficient, one shot wormer for animals over 100kg. A single 1ml per 100kg injection under the skin gives 120 days (4 months) persistent protection against both stomach worms and lung worm, so no need to round up the calves every 4 to 6 weeks.
Niall Kelleher, a dairy farmer from Aherla, Co Cork “...started using Cydectin Long Acting wormer on the recommendation of one of my vets Edmund Walsh of Glasslyn Veterinary Clinic. I found it very convenient lasted for up to 4 months and did a great job on the lung worm and stomach worms in my calves this year. Very happy with the overall growth and performance of them and haven’t looked back since”
“Our experience over the last few years is that farmers start using Cydectin 10% Long Acting for the convenience and labour saving, but the reason they keep using it year after year is that they see the improved performance for themselves,” said Charles Chavasse, Area Veterinary manger with Zoetis. “It is an obvious choice for all calves and weanlings at grass this summer. It is easy to use in all calves, be they dairy replacements, dairy to beef, or suckler calves. It is also a good option for worming yearlings, and it’s an obvious choice if they are going to an outside farm with no crush or poor facilities. Farmers can use it with confidence, knowing that there have been no known cases of resistance”
Calves are treated at lower weights, so not as much product is required and yet the dose still works when they have more than doubled their weight. E.g. a calf treated at 100kg in mid-June could expect to be 200 to 220 kg in mid-October, and would still be protected against stomach and lung worms. The cost would be about 2.5c per day of protection. It should be remembered that the most expensive product is one that does not work e.g. where Ivermectin resistance has been found. There is no known resistance to Cydectin 10% Long Acting and it offers the longest persistent effect of any product, 120 days against stomach and lung worms!!