As a farmer, you know the importance of keeping your livestock healthy, and one pesky nematode that can wreak havoc on young lambs is Nematoidirus. This parasite is prevalent in the UK and thrives in wet and cool conditions, making it a real danger during spring and early summer. Thankfully, there are solutions available to tackle this parasite, but it's essential to understand the importance of responsible drenching methods to avoid unnecessary resistance and health risks. In this blog post, we'll introduce you to Nematoidirus, discuss the importance of careful drenching practices, and recommend some effective products to keep your livestock healthy.


What is Nematoidirus? 

Nematoidirus is not your typical worm, and the risks it poses to young lambs should not be underestimated. These worms can accumulate in large numbers in the small intestine, causing diarrhoea, weight loss, and even death if left untreated. In severe infestations, lambs may become lethargic and lose their appetite, leading to a reduction in lamb development rates. Due to their unique life cycle and behaviour, Nematoidirus outbreaks are particularly hard to predict, making it more important to take preventative action during high-risk periods. 


Drenching is the most effective solution to eradicate Nematoidirus within a flock. However, over-reliance on drenching can lead to concerns about resistance as well as concerns regarding the health of the lambs. It's essential to avoid over-drenching, as this can promote resistance to anthelmintics and negatively impact the lamb's health. The best approach is to conduct a faecal egg count to check the worm burdens in your flock and then drench accordingly. This will allow you to tailor your drenching program to your flock's specific needs, ensuring you provide adequate treatment without drenching unnecessarily. 

Which Drenching Products Should I Use? 

When it comes to choosing a drenching product, there are many options available. At Meirion Davies, we believe the most effective products for Nematoidirus include Downland Premadex Drench, Downland Albacert, and Downland Zermex 0.1% Drench. For ease of use and accurate dosing, it's recommended to use products such as the Zoetis 15ML Drench Gun or the 10ml Lamb-Matic Drencher Gun. 

Can I Predict a Nematoidirus Outbreak? 

You can use the SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) Nematodirus Forecast. This forecasting tool uses weather data to predict when Nematoidirus risk is highest in your area, allowing you to take preventative measures ahead of time. By checking the forecast in your local area regularly, you can ensure you are adequately prepared for any potential Nematoidirus outbreaks. The tool is available here:

Nematoidirus outbreaks can have a significant impact on young lambs, making the use of effective drenching methods incredibly important for their welfare. By taking preventative measures during high-risk periods and adopting responsible drenching practices, farmers can help keep their livestock healthy and reduce the potential risk of resistance. Remember, it's always a good idea to seek advice about the best approach to manage internal parasites within your flock, so please be sure to come and speak to one of our SPQ’s at Meirion Davies for more information and guidance. 

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