Stay vigilant for signs of lungworm in cattle

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Recent discussions with APHA and SRUC have raised concerns around some potential issues with lungworm infections in grazing cattle in late summer and autumn 2022.

In particular, farmers are warned to remain vigilant for signs of lungworm in cattle following report of coughing in grazing cattle, consistent with lungworm infection. Acting quickly is essential as a large build-up of dead worms in the lungs results in poor responses to treatment.

Outbreaks can be difficult to predict, meaning pasture contamination can build up. There are warnings that this year could be particularly challenging as the drought suspended lungworm life cycles, which may result in a greater infection pressure in a short space of time. Additionally, with autumn now bringing wetter weather, rainfall can promote the release of infective larvae from faecal pats. 

If you are seeing coughing cattle, do speak to your vet about the best means to diagnose and treat disease. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. Similarly, if you have treated and there has been a poor response, you should follow up with your vet. 

When treatment for lungworm is indicated remember the five Rs for effective use of wormers

  • the right product for the type of worm
  • the right animal
  • the right time
  • the right dose-rate
  • administered in the right way

Further information can be found on the COWs website

In addition, livestock and wildlife health and welfare and production problems may arise during and following periods of hot weather, see here for examples.

COWs Control of lungworm in cattle guide

More about gut and Lung Worms

Download our parasite control guide