Friday, 03 July 2020 12:12

Monthly dog dosing will close measles gap

Written by  Staff Reporters
Ovis management’s Dan Lynch says it is a big mistake for sheep farmers to reduce on-farm dog treatments Ovis management’s Dan Lynch says it is a big mistake for sheep farmers to reduce on-farm dog treatments

Requiring that all dogs on sheep farms be treated every four weeks for sheep measles is a significant step in reducing the impact of the parasite, says Dan Lynch.

Lynch, project manager, Ovis Management Ltd, says the change – as part of the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme – means a gap in national sheep measles control is being closed even further. 

He says one of the challenges with reducing sheep measles levels is that surveys show farmers buying in store lambs to finish have a higher prevalence than those finishing their own lambs.

“This is occurring despite the fact that the surveys show both groups are getting the same level of control,” Lynch adds. 

“This leads to a situation where the store lamb finisher is contacted about their high prevalence at processing. However, the problem is with the breeder, who is out of the feedback loop.”

He says this is further complicated by the fact that, in nearly all cases, store lines are mixed – so the identity of the originating farm is lost.

“However, most farmers will at some point finish lambs and will likely be part of the NZ Farm Assurance Programme,” Lynch adds. “This means they will be treating their dogs four weekly and reduce the chances that they will unknowingly sell infected lambs to finishers.”

Dan Lynch.

Meanwhile, Lynch adds that the national prevalence of sheep measles for the current processing season, to the end of May, is in line with the record low of last year.

“Although, in recent months, the North Island lamb prevalence is tracking slightly ahead of last year.”

Lynch says that one factor noted during farm visits is farmers who have had few sheep measles in recent seasons have been reducing on-farm dog treatments. 

“Big mistake!” says Lynch. “If you achieve zero or minimal infection levels, protect that achievement by keeping a tight treatment dog access programme in place.”

Key steps for control

• Dose all dogs on-farm, monthly

• Treat all sheep or goat meat by freezing or cooking

• Deter or ban all external dogs from entering farm unless, they have a current treatment certificate.

More like this

An ode to the ‘beloved’ sheep yards

When 14-year-old Lincoln High School student Rosa Macaulay was asked to write story about her favourite room, instead of choosing her bedroom like most 14-year-old girls, she chose her grandfather’s sheep yards. 

Back the sector that backs NZ

OPINION: The biggest issue currently facing our industry is environmental policy, writes Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.

Meat quota rates remain vital

A jump in the value and volume of New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports to Europe and the UK shows why preserving WTO tariff-rate quotas is so important, claims the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak, according to the BNZ.


An exercise in futility

Former Fonterra Shareholders Council (SHC) chair and Waipu farmer Simon Couper puts his views on why the recent review of the council’s functions was a futile exercise.

Govt link key to DairyNZ strategy

DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel says a constructive relationship with the Government is vital for the industry-good organisation.

Top student off to co-op

Massey University's top agricultural student for 2020 is off to join Fonterra and continue his interest and passion for the dairy industry.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter