Logo Vet CentreWorming Programme for Sheep Measles Protection

The Vet Centre Marlborough co-ordinates a worming programme for both working dogs and companion animals. The working dog programme is aimed at controlling Sheep Measles on the farm. These are small cysts found in the meat of infected sheep and goats. Cysts are not a human health risk; however they are considered a quality defect in the meat, in both local and overseas markets.

The Worming Programme Protocol:

Once enrolled on the worming programme you will receive a monthly dosing schedule and the required tablets for each dog. The tablets are posted at the beginning of the month, in order for them to be given on the 15th of the month – this allows a regular dosing programme to be in place. To enrol your dogs on the worming programme or for further information, please contact Derryn on 577 9822 or enquire@vetmarlborough.co.nz

Sheep Measles

Sheep measles is the common name given to a disease of sheep and goats in which cysts of the tapeworm Cysticercus ovis (Ovis) are found throughout the muscles. This downgrades the quality of meat when the animal is sent for slaughter. To see why this is important for dog owners read the following information about sheep measles:-

  • Ovis is a tapeworm transmitted by dogs. Ovis eggs are passed in the faeces of affected dogs and contaminate the surrounding pasture. Eggs eaten by sheep grazing the pasture hatch into larvae which migrate to the sheep’s muscles where they develop cysts. Dogs catch Ovis by eating the cysts within infected sheep muscle and so the cycle continues.
  • Neither dogs nor sheep get sick from Ovis infection. There is no risk to humans from eating the cysts but the meat is unpalatable and unfit for human consumption. At the meat works if one animal from a farm is found to have Ovis cysts then ALL the sheep carcasses from that farm in the same consignment are downgraded. This results in a huge loss of profit for the farmer.
  • All dog owners in NZ whose dogs walk on or alongside sheep paddocks have a moral obligation to ensure their dogs are kept free of Ovis.
To help keep your dog free of Ovis and help prevent the spread of this parasite:-
  • Do not feed raw sheep or goat meat to your dog and this includes preventing them from scavenging dead carcasses. Freezing meat for a minimum of 10 days kills the parasite and also cooked meat is safe to feed.
  • Ovis eggs from dried out dog faeces can be carried in the wind for a short distance. Always pick up and safely dispose of your dog’s faeces on walks.
  • Regular worm treatment is essential. If your dog does not roam near sheep paddocks then worming every 3 months with a multi-wormer (for tape and roundworm) is adequate. If your dog does roam near sheep paddocks then as well as the 3 monthly multi-wormer they will additionally need treating every month with a product containing Praziquantel (eg. Drontal, Milbemax or Droncit tablets) to kill tapeworms. Please note that the pour-on combination flea and worm products Revolution and Advocate do not kill tapeworm.
Other ways to break the life cycle of the tapeworm:
  • Any home killing of sheep or goats should take place in a dog proof enclosure. Offal and dead stock disposal sites must also be in areas away from dogs.
  • Before feeding sheep or goat meat to dogs, the meat should either have been cooked or frozen.
  • COOKING – the meat should be heated to a core temperature of 72 degrees Celsius and cooked throughout to ensure the cysts are killed (this should take place in a dog proof area). As a general rule, all the meat should turn brown. Any tinges of red suggest insufficient cooking.
  • FREEZING – meat should be frozen to a core temperature of -10 degrees Celsius (or colder) for at least 7 days. The dog food should be clearly labelled and dated to allow easy identification. Check the freezer temperature regularly to ensure it is operating at the required temperature.
  • Feed alternative foods eg. dry food, biscuits or dog roll.
  • Keep all dogs under control at all times to prevent scavenging.