In-house Faecal Egg Counting
By counting the eggs produced in the animal’s faeces, we gain an indication of the number of worms inside the particular animal. By doing this procedure in our clinic we significantly reduce the turnaround time from getting the samples to reporting the results.
Faecal Egg Counting doesn’t tell us the specific worm type (ie Ostertagia (brown stomach worm) vs Haemonchus (barber’s pole). This requires the eggs to be incubated, hatched and the larvae counted under a microscope, which takes a period of 12-14 days.
Knowing the level of worms inside an animal or group of animals enables us to diagnose worms as a cause of illthrift. We learn some of the information required to assess whether they need drenching. We can assess how well a drench has worked.
To have a faecal egg count done we require at least a good teaspoon of fresh faeces per animal. These can be collected directly from the animal/s or picked up from the ground after holding a portion of the mob in a yard or corner of a paddock. But the samples must be fresh.
If you cannot get them to the clinic the same day they must be kept in the fridge overnight.
Ram Soundness Examinations
Rams, funnily enough, are an important part of getting the ewes pregnant. The most efficient use of rams is to cover up to 100 ewes each during the mating period, with as many as possible conceiving during the first cycle (17 days).
This requires healthy physically and sexually fit rams to be joined with the ewe flock.
Rams should be examined at least 10 weeks prior to the mating season. Often we examine them during the spring so that the number of replacements needed is known before the ram sales occur.
Examining the rams is fairly straightforward. It involves physically examining the scrotum, testes and tubes associated with them. At the same time we assess the condition of the rams. Also we discuss the appropriate animal health procedures including vaccinations, lameness prevention, flystrike, worms etc.
We can also vasectomise some rams to produce "teasers", the use of which can greatly enhance the cycling performance of a ewe hogget flock, or an early mating mixed age flock. The operation is fairly simple starting with light sedation, local anaesthetic, removing a section of the cord, then a couple of stitches.