Why now is a good time for camelid worm egg counts
September 14, 2021
Autumn is a good time to perform a faecal screen for your camelid herd. With the wet summer, we have seen a number of Haemonchus cases recently so it may be sensible to consider screening a little earlier this year.
In camelids it is really important we pick the right samples, the right individuals and the right tests to ensure we get the best information from our counts.
Individual samples are important
We always recommend providing individual samples for camelids as there will be a variation of burdens within the same grazing group. A single individual may have a high burden and be the only animal requiring treatment. A pooled sample would give the impression the group has a low burden as the high count in an individual is diluted by other low counts. Treating whole groups unnecessarily will hasten resistance to the products being used so they become ineffective over time.
How we choose the sample size
In smaller herds, it is ideal to screen all the animals to ensure we are treating the correct individuals. In large herds, we recommend that a minimum of 10% of the herd are selected for screening. We target animals that are more likely to have burdens: older animals, animals in poorer body condition, those who are noted to be pale on membrane colour scoring or those aged between 6-18 months.
Use a specialist accredited laboratory
As camelids have a much lower tolerance to parasites than many of our other grazing species, they can suffer disease at much lower egg counts. Therefore, we always recommend sending counts away to an external laboratory (eg Camelid Vet Services) who provide specialist testing. Providing a good history for the farm and the animals submitted for testing allows us to provide targeted and much more specific advice.
If you are set up to perform your own counts, we highly recommend that you regularly send away a percentage of your samples to an accredited laboratory to double check your results as a quality control measure.
Back up faecal screen with body & eye condition scoring
Worms are a big problem for our camelid species, so we recommend regular weighing, body condition scoring and membrane colour scoring to help identify any problems. Poo picking is also an essential part of camelid parasite control – removing faeces every day or every other day will dramatically reduce the risks to your herd.