Sheep measles are a stage in the life cycle of the dog tapeworm. This tapeworm is a parasite that effects dogs, dingoes & (occasionally) foxes. Tapeworm segments are passed in the faeces of dogs. As sheep graze they can ingest these segments which then develop in the sheep and become cysts. Over a period of time these cysts are killed by the sheep’s immune system leaving hard, fibrous or calcified lesions. These are the spots on carcasses known as Sheep Measles, leading to downgrading or condemnation of the carcass.
It is hard to imagine that a few dog faeces in a paddock can cause such a big problem in our lamb & mutton kills, 18% of the Fleurieu lamb kill and 78%respectively!!
Surprisingly, for our Eyre Peninsula readers, your percentages are not much different, 16% in lambs and 73% in mutton.
Three simple things you can do…
- Regular worming of farm dogs (6 weeks for tapeworm) using Drontal®
- Feed dogs prepared food, and
- Restrict access to raw sheep meat & offal (pick up carcasses)