The trees are blooming the grass is growing and it is a beautiful time on North Central Florida farms. Everything is perfect right? Unfortunately for many small ruminant producers this is a frightening time of year. The mild temperatures combined with wet weather can make this the time of year for parasite problems. Depending on the severity of an infestation whole farms can experience storms of sick animals and even lose animals in short periods of time. It can be very frightening and very sad especially for people new to the industry. Even established farms experience these issues and may have endemic problems.
At this point you have probably heard of parasite resistance in our livestock and hopefully have been taking steps to prevent resistance issues on your farm but there is some new and exciting news. There is a promising copper based solution that can help prevent parasite resistance to our dewormers! Researchers at the University of Georgia have done two studies suggesting that Copper Oxide Wire particle boluses can help decrease parasitism up to 90%. Using this treatment was most effective in young growing animals but has effect in adults as well. The studies suggest further testing is necessary to determine the true efficacy but at this point the results were considered very promising and the Copper oxide boluses were shown to be safe to use. These products can be an affordable and safe way to decrease the need for deworming in your herd. I have attached the related articles below. If you are looking for ways to naturally treat your animals consider this over other herbal or Diatomaceous Earth options which have not been shown to be effective and in some cases make problems worse. Please use the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Organization and the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control as reliable tools as you strive to responsibly farm.
This treatment is promising but should be used along with FAMACHA scoring and deworming protocols to ensure the safety of your herd. Ongoing parasite issues on a farm may require fecal analysis to determine which drugs are currently effective on your property. Your Veterinarian is an essential part of creating a plan for your farm. They can help train you with FAMACHA Scoring and supply you with the card to help monitor your animals. They can also perform fecal analysis to identify non- haemonchus parasites and identify which drugs are effective on your property.