Vet Advice: Long-acting dose for lungworm leaves lungs healthy for the housing period

A major help in battling the annual problems of respiratory disease when the animals go in for the winter.
Vet Advice: Long-acting dose for lungworm leaves lungs healthy for the housing period

viruses usually enter the lungs when the animal’s defence system has been upset.

It is a few years now since I had a hip operation.

In the period before I was to undergo it, I was mad into reading up and looking at videos to see what was going to be involved.

The operation itself was going to involve cutting in through the skin and then the muscle layers, in order to get at the hip joint itself.

Once the job was done, there would be a timeframe of recovery where everything would have to heal back towards normal.

I had an excellent surgeon, who made sure all the layers were perfectly lined up, and the physio had a list of exercises to help everything progress as perfectly as possible.

The healing process was something that should not be rushed, and I should not be tempted to run before I could walk, as it were.

Healing takes its own time.

It comes to mind again, having met a colleague for coffee recently. We were discussing a few matters veterinary, and the issue of lungworm and dosing came up.

Connie raised the issue of all the damage that lungworm larvae do, as they travel through the tissues of the lung during the course of their life cycle.

It was something that I had never actually thought too much about previously but, as he spoke, it seemed to make more and more sense.

Obviously, there would be damage caused and much like the healing process involved in recovery from my hip operation, any damage caused in the lung tissue of our animals would also take time to heal properly.

When we dose our animals, thereby killing off the lungworms, and their larvae that are in the lungs, we end up giving the animals a chance to let their lungs heal properly. Normally we leave a period towards the end of the grazing season where we are waiting for the last dose before housing, hoping to let it coincide with the housing itself.

Connie suggested a novel approach where you would give the pre-housing dose four or five weeks before housing, using a dose that would last that long, and also a few weeks into the housing period. Your veterinary surgeon would be able to advise which dose you should use.

The reason behind Connie’s thinking was that by using a long acting anthelmintic, you were killing off the lungworm and their larvae a month before housing, and also any more that they might pick up in the meantime, so that any damage they might have in the lungs would be healed by the time they would go in to the house.

With a healthy set of lungs at that stage, it would be a major help in battling the annual problems of respiratory disease when the animals go in for the winter.

We must not forget that the viruses usually enter the lungs when the animal’s defence system has been upset, or the lungs have been damaged by something like lungworm.

If you are a suckler farmer, then you have the added problem of the stress at weaning your calves.

This long range pre-housing dose can be timed with a respiratory vaccination, so that the stress of weaning does not bring on the bout of respiratory disease that we very commonly see. This way, you are covering them for the possible problems that occur at both weaning and at housing.

These long range doses will also make sure that they are well and truly rid of any lice problems before they reach the indoor environment. The only thing you may have to do at the time of housing, or a few weeks later, is a dose for liver fluke, if that is a problem on your farm. Your own vet will be best placed to advise you on the possible need for this.

Paul Redmond, MVB, MRCVS, Cert DHH, Duntahane Veterinary Clinic, Fermoy

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