Quarantine Drenching of Beef Calves

Quarantine drenching of bought in lambs and ewes is now fairly common practice. With the ease of oral drenching the use of either Matrix (a triple drench) or a novel active helps avoid “buying in resistance”. Unfortunately this practice isn’t as wide spread with farmers who are buying in weaned calves for fattening. While triple combination oral drenches are available (and are the gold standard as a quarantine drench), calves are often of a size that makes it impractical to administer.

So what other options are there?

Firstly we have to consider that a quarantine drench must kill close to 100% of the worms in the calf, otherwise it isn’t achieving its purpose of protecting your property. Recent trial work looked at the use of single active ML pour-ons (such as Abamectin/ Ivermectin). The ML’s are mainly used for their efficacy against Ostertagia, the number one production limiting worm in cattle. In relieving news they still kill close to 100% of Osteragia. However their efficacy against Cooperia, a worm that is highly prevalent in calves (adult cattle acquire immunity to Cooperia at 12-18 months) is much poorer. To effectively kill Cooperia we require the addition of the drench Levamisole.

Therefore quarantine drench options must include both an ML drench component AND Levamisole to be effective. There are two options available:

  • „ “Eclipse” (Abamectin + Levamisole) – a pour-on drench
  • „ “Eclipse E” (Eprinomectin + Levamisole) – an injection

The injection may be the best option for beef farmers, especially if calves have long coats/mud that can interfere with the uptake of pour-on drenches. It is similar to Cydectin/Exodus that many sheep farmers are familiar with administering. Have a chat to one of our vets to work out the best quarantine drench option for your farming enterprise.