- There are two different types of worms that infest the lungs of a sheep, large lungworms and small lungworms. Large lungworms cause most of the disease seen in sheep – they live in the airways. Small lungworms live in the lung tissue.
- Lungworms are most prevalent in the cooler, wetter areas of southern Australia, generally in autumn or winter.
- Lambs 4-6 months of age are most severely affected however it can be seen in sheep of any age.
- A moderate to heavy infestation of lungworms causes irritation to the lining of the airways and a cough.
- A very heavy lungworm burden may cause breathing difficulty, nasal discharge, reduced milk yield, ill thrift, pneumonia, suffocation and death.
- Lungworms can be identified in a faecal egg count and culture, although this is not as straightforward as for other sheep worms.
- On post mortem, lungworms can be seen in the airways and lungs.
- Many of the sheep drenches are registered for the treatment of lungworms.
- No resistance to chemicals has been reported in lungworm in Australia.
- Ensure an adequate drenching program is carried out regularly.