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Sheep Scab On The Rise: Bimeda Call For Appropriate Action Planning

Bimeda are calling for farmers to review their scab control practices in order to address two concerning issues: the year-on-year increase in sheep scab on UK farms, and the potential development of resistance to 3ML wormers.

Bimeda Vet and Territory Manager Rachel commented; ‘it is estimated that since the elimination of compulsory dipping 23 years ago, there has been a 60-fold increase in sheep scab on UK farms (Source: Endemic sheep scab: risk factors and the behaviour of upland sheep flocks: Rose and Wall). This is not a coincidence. Dipping gives immediate scab and ecto-parasite control and in fact, dipping in the only means of complete and targeted ecto-parasite control in one treatment. We are highly concerned about the decline in dipping and the consequences for animal welfare’.

She added; ‘there are a lot of misconceptions about dipping and the barriers to having sheep dipped. In reality, there is no reason preventing UK sheep farmers from accessing this method of scab and ecto-parasite control. For farmers who do not have a licence to dip or dispose of used dip, there are a number of licensed mobile sheep dippers around the country, who provide a way for farmers to avail of dipping, without having to carry it out themselves. Any farmer who is having trouble finding a local mobile dipper can contact Bimeda for a list of dippers in their area. Some local agricultural colleges also offer dipping courses, which are a good means of acquiring the necessary certificate.’

Rachel pointed out that industry bodies are also promoting the use of dipping. For example on the SCOPs website, the SCOPS technical manual highlights dipping as the most effective means of scab control. Dipping is also a unique method of parasite control, as it offers the only way to treat scab, ticks and lice with one product.

In addition to the efficacy of sheep dip, dipping for scab is preferable to the use of 3ML injections for scab control. The use of 3-MLs’ for sheep scab should be discouraged, to avoid the development of internal parasite resistance to 3MLs.

Why Dipping Is the Best Option for Scab:

  • Dipping targets external parasites only
  • Dipping does not give rise to anthelmintic resistance
  • Dipping kills scab mites immediately
  • The scab mite prefers to spend its entire life cycle on the animal, but can survive off-fleece in clumps of wool for up to 17 days. Dipping gives protection against scab for longer than the 17 days that the mite can survive in the environment, thus allowing for complete elimination in closed flocks

Bimeda offers the Gold Fleece OP Dip, which is the UK’s number one sheep dip. Gold Fleece has a short and convenient 49 day meat withdrawal, which is 3 weeks shorter than the UK’s other available dip (Paracide 62). Gold Fleece offers excellent value to the farmer, with 5L treating over 800 sheep.

Use Medicines Responsibly. Noah.co.uk/responsible
Gold Fleece contains diazinon 60% w/v and is a POM-VPS product.