Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have developed an improved, more efficient method to test for the most serious of the parasitic worms in sheep, a problem that causes hundreds of millions of dollars in losses every year to the global sheep and wool industry.
This technology is now available and will allow a faster, easier and less expensive way to test for the presence and quantity of Haemonchus contortus, or "barber pole" worms, a species that is very pathogenic to sheep, goats and llamas. This will help sheep ranchers deal with this problem more quickly and effectively, optimize their management practices and sometimes avoid costly therapies.
"This particular parasite is much more pathogenic in sheep than other worms, and previous methods to detect it were very labor-intensive and often not commercially practical," said Michael Kent, an OSU professor of microbiology. "Now, ranchers and veterinarians can test for this problem and target their management or treatment strategies much more effectively."