BARBERS POLE TESTING
A new DNA based test is now avaliable for diagnosing BP infection. This test costs $50/sample and will give a yes/no answer to the presence of BP worms.
Barber’s Pole (BP) worm (Haemonchus contortus) is considered the worst of all the roundworms to infect ruminants, such as goats, sheep and alpacas. The reason BP is notorious is that it is one of the only worm species that directly sucks blood. Adult worms live in the abomasum (stomach) and a single worm may take up to 0.05mL of blood per day. With a burden of 5000 worms, an animal may lose 250mL of blood per day. In severe (acute) cases, animals can die from anaemia and protein loss. In chronic cases, the continued loss of blood will result in animals that lose weight and show weakness and inappetence rather than classic anaemia symptoms (e.g. pale membranes, bottle jaw).
Monitoring the presence of BP in your livestock can allow you to make more informed decisions about treatment. Being able to determine what type of strongyles are infecting livestock is important for appropriate management: BP worm may require more aggressive management than less problematic strongyles, such as nodule worm (Oesophagostum spp) or scour worms (Trichostrongylus spp).
BP worms are most problematic in small ruminants, such as sheep, goats and alpacas.