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  • Matt Playford

Dawbuts Spring Newsletter 2017


Farewell Ali and Welcome Phil

Many clients will already know that Ali, our ever-reliable and competent lab manager has taken up a new position at the NSW Department of Primary Industries. We are very happy that Ali has settled in well in her new role and wish her all the best for the new stage of her career. In the meantime, Nicole and Hilary continue to kick goals in the lab as well as working on their research projects. Nicole Selwood is a graduate of Sydney University in Animal and Veterinary Bioscience. She completed her honours project chasing ascarids of cattle in Laos with Associate Professor Russel Bush. Nicole’s weekend pursuits include riding her horse ‘Dakota’ in shows and events. Phil Stein has taken over key responsibilities in the lab and has brought a high level of expertise to our parasitology investigations. Phil’s background is in parasitology research at Elanco/Novartis and before that at CSIRO McMaster laboratory.



Drench resistance update Spring 2017

We have been conducting drench resistance tests from across Australia in both sheep and cattle. This year and last year, many counts taken from sheep soon after injection with long-acting moxidectin have shown very high worm egg counts, indicating low efficacy of the treatment.

If you are using long-acting moxidectin injection then you need to treat it with respect. Moxidectin is a very important and widely-used treatment for sheep, but since its introduction in the mid-1990s there has been resistance develop in several species of sheep worms.

The diagrams above (published in the Australian Veterinary Journal in 2014) summarise the overall situation for resistance to the broad spectrum active ingredients against the three most common sheep worms across Australia in the years 2009-12. Note that there is considerable variation between regions and this summary simply shows the mean figures. The bottom line is that when used as a single active ingredient, moxidectin usually doesn’t kill all of the worms present in a mob of sheep. However long-acting injections can still have a benefit as they will kill incoming larvae that are more sensitive than the adult worms. The period of protection however may be reduced below the 49-91 day label claim. Tips to prolong the lifespan of moxidectin and gain better productivity.

  1. Use a ‘primer’ drench to clean out adult worms prior to the LA injection.

  2. Use a ‘tailcutter’ drench (usually 60-90 days after the LA injection) to clean out resistant adult worms that accumulate in the stomach and intestine.

  3. Avoid using single-active drenches.

  4. Do a ‘before and after’ test by sampling at the time and drenching and again 14d later to tell how well each drench is working for you and only use those that have >95% efficacy.

Reference: Playford et al. (2014) Prevalence and severity of anthelmintic resistance in ovine gastrointestinal nematodes in Australia (2009-12) AVJ 92:464-471


Hilary to visit New Zealand

As part of her role as manager of the FECPAKG2 project, Hilary will spend a week in November in Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. Home of the mighty Highlanders rugby team and famed for its natural beauty, Dunedin is used by many people as a starting point for exploring the wonders of the mountains and coastline. However, Hilary’s main interest is pursuing the city’s academic frontiers, exemplified by both the University of Otago and our partners in the FECPAKG2 project, Techion. FECPAKG2 is a unique product as it allows farmers to enjoy the benefits of having a veterinary parasitologist with them on their own farm, at any time of the day. FECPAKG2’s ‘disruptive technology’ was invented in a collaborative project between Techion’s Greg Mirams and the University of Otago’s Dr. Stephen Sowerby. The photo (above) shows Hilary training Cowra sheep producer Andrew Smith in the finer details of FECPAKG2 technique so he can set up his own unit on the home farm.



World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology.

Matt attended the conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September, presenting a paper titled “Anthelmintic resistance in feedlot cattle in Southern Australia detected using Mini-FLOTAC,” a paper co-authored by Alison Small and Tony Batterham. This has been an exciting project for us, as the new, more sensitive Mini-FLOTAC methods we have been using in the lab allow us to accurately diagnose drench resistance in cattle, in ways previously only possible using very complex and expensive techniques. This study demonstrated the usefulness of Mini-FLOTAC for efficacy testing in populations of cattle with low starting worm egg counts, as well as highlighting lack of efficacy of popular products against common worms of Australian beef cattle.


Visit to University of Naples Federico II

Whilst in Naples in September, Matt took the opportunity to visit with our collaborating laboratory- the Department of Veterinary Parasitology at the University of Naples Federico II. Set in a magnificent historical building adorned with frescoes adjacent the historic city centre, the department is headed by Professor Giuseppe Cringoli, along with Assoc Professor Laura Rinaldi and Maria-Paola Maurelli (see picture above). Laura is showing off the new Mini-FLOTAC commercial kits that are about to be launched in Europe. For enquiries please contact Dawbuts.


RAMping Up Repro train the trainer events

A series of training events aimed at sheep veterinarians was held around the country in August. The roadshow visited Bendigo, Dubbo, Hamilton, Murray Bridge, Clare, Kojonup and Albury, training about 80 attendees. Sponsored by Zoetis, partnering with Australian Wool Innovation, these day long workshops were aimed at equipping veterinarians and extension providers to run the ‘RAMping Up Repro’ extension programs. The pilot programs for these events were run by Matt in southern NSW in January-February and by Dr. Paul Nilon in Tasmania in March 2017. After good feedback from producers who attended, AWI decided to roll them out across Australia. Thanks to all who assisted particularly hosts at each location as well as Jock Munro of Zoetis and Emily King of AWI.Photo (above) shows Dr. Colin Trengrove of The University of Adelaide demonstrating ram examination methods at ‘Brinkley Station’, East Wellington, SA.


Queensland Beef Tour for the 2017 Japanese delegation

A team of Japanese beef industry stakeholders travelled to Australia in mid-October with the objective of learning more about how we manage and feed cattle, both on breeder farms and in the feedlot. Matt accompanied the group on their tour through southeast Queensland, visiting farms, feedlots, feedmills and processing works along the way. Needless to say, attention was paid to studying and sampling the delicious products of the beef industry as well! Many thanks to the people who kindly hosted us, as well as to Kazuhiro Matsui who led the delegation. The photos above show members of the Japanese delegation studying feedmixing on farm at ‘Nindooinbah’ with Nat McGhee, at the Riverina Oakey feedmill with Branch Manager Raymond Beard and visiting Mort & Co’s Pinegrove Feedlot with Livestock Manager Malinda Jones.



Sheep workshops in Dubbo and Wagga Wagga November 2017

Matt teamed up with long-term collaborator, nutritionist Luke Harrison in his new role as AGnVET’s animal health technical advisor, to present training at two workshops in November. The events were held as one-day updates on sheep vaccines, drenches and nutritional supplements, provided in the context of hands-on practical tutorials.

We were fortunate for fine weather on the two days which enabled us to spend plenty of time in the yards assessing mobs of sheep. Photo (above) shows Matt with the team at Harry Cook’s woolshed, displaying abattoir specimens of common conditions including arthritis, cheesy gland, sheep measles and liver fluke.


World Buiatrics Congress in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

In August 2018 the city of Sapporo will be host to the 30th World Buiatrics Congress, the peak conference for cattle veterinarians from all over the globe. Among the keynote speakers will be Prof Mark Stevenson of University of Melbourne and Prof Richard Whittington of University of Sydney. Hokkaido is no stranger to big events, having previously hosted the Winter Olympics (1972) and the G8 summit in 2008. The city of Sapporo is a mecca for tourists year-round, with powder snow through the winter and the Snow Festival every February. However, the city is just as enticing in summer, with mountains, lakes and forests fringing the city just waiting to be explored on foot, mountain bike or kayak.

For more information visit


Department of Youth

Over the past few months we have had a regular contributor in the lab. Georgia Smith of Camden High School is studying Primary Industries for the HSC and needed to do an industry placement so she approached Dawbuts. Of course we were happy to oblige, knowing Georgia’s family are keen livestock producers in the Oakdale district with Limousins and Dorpers. It turned out that we learned a lot from Georgia during the time she was with us and would welcome her back any time. All the best for those HSC exams Georgia!!

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