Sheep farmers are being warned to stay alert for the tapeworm Taenina ovis, otherwise known as sheep measles. The worm is a parasite in which the adult stage can be found in the intestines of dogs whilst the intermediate or larval stage can be found in the muscles of sheep. Sheep can be infected by grazing pasture contaminated with eggs that have been shed in dog’s faeces.
The intermediate stage in sheep is characterised by small cysts in the muscle tissue. Lesions can then ooccur in the sheep’s heart and diaphragm usually resulting in the animal being condemned. In general many producers are lax when it comes to worming their farm dogs regularly, meaning they fail to break the lifecycle of the tapeworm. Farmers are advised to treat all dogs on their properties with a tape wormer that contains Praziquantel once a month as the parasites lifecycle is 35 days, which is more frequent than the original recommendation of worming every six weeks.
Economically, sheep measles can cost the industry millions of dollars per year so it’s within those who work in agricultures interests to try and keep this to a minimum. This information was provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food.