The SCOPS nematodirus forecast map (www.scops.org.uk) predicts that for Dumfries and Galloway hatching will commence in 7 to 14 days if the warmer weather continues. This will start creeping up the country as warmer weather continues.
The current late, cold spring is similar to 2013 which saw high numbers of nematodirus outbreaks as lambs were older when the risk period occurred. Diagnoses are consistently recorded from mid-May onwards and peak in June.
While the nematodirus risk will vary for different parts of the country a consistent issue this year is poorer ewe condition impacting milk yield. This risks lambs being forced to become increasingly reliant on grass at an earlier age. While nematodirus is usually regarded as affecting lambs aged 6 to 12 weeks of age it should not be discounted as a possible cause of scour and death in younger lambs this year. Likewise, coccidiosis will lead to more severe disease.
Heather Stevenson, SRUC Veterinary Services, Dumfries
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