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David Sparks Ph.d Sheep and Blowflies
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: April 20, 2018

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A chat with Zoetis veterinarian Dr. Nathan Chubb about sheep. “What is the number one parasite that attacks sheep? I know that out here in Idaho you get domestic sheep intermingling with big horns and all kinds of respiratory problems occur. Some very important markets for sheep are Australia, New Zealand, Europe, United States so there are a lot of regional differences in the parasites between those markets. I would guess that blowfly and lice are the things that farmers are more probably trying to control. They can have a real impact on the health of sheep. Blowfly is a seasonal thing. It’s a family of flies who lay their eggs on the sheep and the immature flies actually feed on the skin of the sheep themselves. Look on the Internet you’ll see some very nasty pictures.

In the UK, blowflies are one of the most widespread ectoparasites affecting sheep. Surveys suggest that every year 80% of flocks will have one or more cases of blowfly strike. The severity of strike can be hugely variable year by year and can be weather related but not treating promptly can lead to reduced performance, secondary infections and death. Leaving animals untreated when knowingly affect with strike is also a welfare issue.

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