Apr 08

SCOPS press release: New research shows sheep farmers can save money at lambing time and safeguard the future of their flocks

20th March 2018

Brecknock Welsh Mountain HRose

Anthelmintic treatment of ewes around lambing time, often with long-acting products, has become common practice on UK sheep farms. However, new independent UK research carried out over three years by the Animal Plant and Health Agency (AHPA) and funded by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has found no advantage in blanket worming ewes at lambing.

Faecal egg counts from lambs reared on ewes that were wormed with either a short-acting or long-acting wormer were not lower than faecal egg counts taken from lambs reared on ewes not treated with a wormer. The study supports data generated by other researchers suggesting the practice of treating ewes at lambing to reduce contamination on pasture and minimise subsequent disease may not always result in lower levels of infection in lambs.

Jane Learmount, lead research on the project, says: “Over-use of anthelmintics is a major factor in the development of resistance,and treating adult sheep unnecessarily only adds to the problem. We had the opportunity to see if this widely adopted practice of worming ewes at lambing really was beneficial to the lambs by analysing our data from our long-term project involving 16 commercial farms. The bottom line is that we could not demonstrate any clear benefit in terms of worm infection levels in lambs as a result of worming ewes on the farms studied.”

This research provides further support for the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) recommendation to use a targeted approach to the administration of wormers on sheep farms, including leaving the fittest ewes untreated around lambing.

Peter Baber, sheep farmer and SCOPS Steering Group Chairman, says: “With sheep farmers increasingly aware that worm control is no longer as simple as regularly using a wormer (anthelmintic), this is an important finding. If you haven’t had resistance to one or more groups detected on your farm, chances are you know somebody who has and who is struggling with the consequences. These days, maintaining control of worms is all about striking a balance that minimises the risk that the worms will become resistant on your farm.”

Lesley Stubbings of SCOPS says: “SCOPS has been working with a number of farms for several years and they are not seeing any downside to worming only a small proportion of their ewes. This research finding is a massive step forward. We have been advising farmers to leave 10-20% of their ewes untreated, but now with the support of the findings of this large project, we can confidently tell farmers that they only need to treat that proportion of the flock that is below ideal condition or immature shearlings or ewe lambs.”

One of the farmers involved in this work is Gareth Owen of Abbey Farm, Leicester. He says: “We have monitored ewe egg output in the run up to lambing for several years and have convinced ourselves that the majority of our ewes do not shed many eggs. Consequently, only our shearlings and the few leaner ewes are treated at lambing. I must be able to control worms in the long term and am not prepared to risk accelerating the development of resistance on the farm by administering indiscriminate ewe treatments simply because that’s what we always used to do. The fact it also saves us a lot of money is an extra bonus.”

The message from SCOPS is, before you fall into spending money on wormer for your ewes this year, stop and think about how you can save money and at the same time protect the future of your flock from anthelmintic resistance. Be selective, only treating those ewes that need it, and help preserve your wormers for the future.

*Learmount et al. 2018. An observational study of ewe treatments at lambing on early infection in lambs on UK sheep farms. Veterinary Parasitology. 253, 55-59.

Apr 08

BAVP annual meeting, Aberystwyth 10-11 April 2018

We are relaunching the BAVP at the joint BAVP/BSP meeting in Aberystwyth on the 10th-11th April.  The Association has been dormant for a few years and we would like to encourage all members, old and new, to take part in our AGM, elections and logo design competition to get the new BAVP off to a good start.

The AGM will be held during the BAVP annual meeting, 10-11th April. Provisionally, this will be 5.45pm on the 10th of April, immediately following the final speaker of the day in the BAVP session.

A timetable for the meeting can be found here: click here for summarised timetable

A more detailed timetable showing speakers for the BAVP sessions (Stream 5) can be found here: click for detailed timetable


Please email hannah.rose<at>bristol.ac.uk (replace the <at> with @) to put yourself forward for Executive Committee membership in any of the following roles:

– President

– Vice-President

– Secretary-Treasurer

– Communications Officer

– Early Career members’ representative

If you would like further information on any of the roles please get in touch. All members are very welcome.


BAVP logo competition:

Please submit your logo ideas to hannah.rose<at>bristol.ac.uk. Logos must look good in both black & white and colour (if there is colour in the logo), and be legible at a range of sizes.


Final call for registration:

Registration for the meeting will close on the 7th of April. The BAVP sessions will run on the 10th and 11th of April and there is an option to register for these sessions only for a reduced price. http://bsp.uk.net/2016/04/01/bsp-spring-meeting-2018/

May 05

BAVP annual meeting 2016

Eric phone Apr16 869Eric phone Apr16 873It was fantastic to see so many old and new faces at the 2016 BAVP annual meeting which was held at the University of Bristol on the 14-15 April in the Wills Memorial Building and Museum & Art Gallery. Attendees represented the breadth of parasitologists in the UK including Universities, animal health companies, SMEs and the APHA.

The prize of £50 for best student presentation was awarded by majority decision of the committee to Johnathan Love of Strathclyde University for his talk on “Probability distributions of faecal egg count data and their impact on investigating anthelmintic efficacy”. Johnathan was congratulated, as were the other student presenters, Marisol Collins, Ludovica Beltrame and Catherine McLeonard, for their excellent presentations.

A copy of the programme and abstracts can be downloaded here (pdf).

Thank you very much to BAVP President, Eric Morgan, for hosting a successful meeting.



Apr 08

Online forecast map warns sheep farmers about risk of nematodirosis in lambs

Example Nematodirus forecast map

Example Nematodirus forecast map

With spring fast approaching the parasite Nematodirus is a deadly threat to the lives of lambing flocks.  An online risk forecast could help UK sheep farmers assess the risk of outbreaks of the parasite in their lambs and take action before it is too late.  The forecast maps will be updated daily to track changes in risk throughout the spring and early summer and include treatment and management advice.

The online risk forecast has been developed by SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) and researchers at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences* to predict when Nematodirus eggs will hatch and when outbreaks are likely to happen.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Nematodirus battus hatched - Jan van DijkNematodirosis, caused by the gutworm Nematodirus battus, is a deadly disease affecting young lambs. Eggs deposited on pasture by lambs the previous year hatch together in spring, triggered by a period of chilling over winter followed by warmer weather. Young lambs take in large numbers of larvae as they graze, which damage their gut leading to foetid black diarrhoea (black scour) and death.

Predicting when outbreaks might happen is becoming increasingly difficult due to variation in spring temperatures from year to year. Farmers can no longer rely on a standard timetable of treatments to avoid disease. As the damage is done by the larvae, faecal egg counts are of little use in detecting and controlling Nematodirus in young lambs.

The forecast takes advantage of the temperature-driven synchronised hatching of the Nematodirus larvae and uses weather data from 140 weather stations provided by the Met Office and Forecast.io. The interactive Google map allows farmers and advisers to select the nearest or most representative weather station and provides advice on how to relate the predicted risk to their particular farm and treatment options.

Cases of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­nematodirosis and eggs detected in routine faecal worm egg counts will also be mapped anonymously as they arise to improve the forecasts and SCOPS are asking farmers, advisors and diagnostic labs to contribute to these records by emailing researcher Dr Hannah Rose at the University of Bristol’s Vet School.

Dr Rose said: “In previous years 64 per cent of farmers and advisors surveyed changed the timing or extent of treatment – or advised treatment – after consulting the forecast, which has been running since 2013, and 93 per cent felt that their approach to control of this parasite had changed as a result of the forecast.”

UK Government funding provided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has enabled further development of the forecast and it is hoped that even more farmers will benefit in 2016.

*The forecast is the culmination of the work of a number of BAVP members:
Dr Eric Morgan – University of Bristol
Dr Hannah Rose – Univeristy of Bristol
Dr Jan van Dijk – University of Liverpool (previously University of Bristol)
Owen Gethings – Harper Adams University (previously University of Bristol)

Relevant publications:

OWEN J. GETHINGS, HANNAH ROSE, SIÂN MITCHELL, JAN VAN DIJK and ERIC R. MORGAN (2015). Asynchrony in host and parasite phenology may decrease disease risk in livestock under climate warming: Nematodirus battus in lambs as a case study. Parasitology, 142, pp 1306-1317. doi:10.1017/S0031182015000633.

J. van DIJK and E. R. MORGAN (2008). The influence of temperature on the development, hatching and survival of Nematodirus battus larvae. Parasitology, 135, pp 269-283. doi:10.1017/S0031182007003812.

J. van DIJK and E. R. MORGAN (2010). Variation in the hatching behaviour of Nematodirus battus: Polymorphic bet hedging?. International journal for parasitology, 40(6), 675-681. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.11.002

Apr 08

BAVP meeting 14th-15th April 2016 – Programme and information

This year’s BAVP meeting will be held in Bristol on Thursday 14th pm (1-5) and Friday 15th April am (9-1), at the University of Bristol main precinct (Will’s Memorial building, Queen’s Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1RJ). Please find the programme below.

The Will’s memorial building is next door to Bristol museum, and is easy to find:


The registration desk will be in the main lobby. Registration fees will be payable on arrival, if not already paid by cheque: Full rate £50; students £25. This includes buffet lunches and tea/coffee on both days, but not the evening meal or accommodation. If you have not yet indicated that you plan to join us, please contact eric.morgan@bristol.ac.uk ASAP for catering purposes.


Travel and accommodation

There is a wide choice of affordable hotel and hostel accommodation in the area.

The nearest hotel is the Berkeley Square Hotel, approx. 50m from the meeting venue. Along with its four nearby sister hotels, it is a good choice: http://www.cliftonhotels.com/

Other nearby hotels are the Regency (http://www.theregencybristol.co.uk/), 5 min walk, the very nice Avon Gorge (http://www.theavongorge.com/), 10 min, and a wide choice of city centre hotels, 10-20 min walk.

For those on a tighter budget, there is a basic but clean hostel just yards away (http://homestaybristol.co.uk/) and two more in the city centre, 10 min walk (http://www.thelanesbristol.co.uk/hostel/) (http://www.yha.org.uk/)

Even at short notice, you should be able to find affordable accommodation nearby, e.g. through booking.com

The city is well served by public transport, with both coach (10 min) and rail stations (30 min) an easy walk from the venue. Car parking is usually available at hotels and is possible in nearby multi-storey car parks: the nearest are on Trenchard Street and on Berkeley Place (West End), both 5 minutes’ walk from the venue. Meter parking is available on nearby streets such as Woodland Road, but is time limited (cost £3 for 2 or 3 hours).




Thursday 14th April

Time Speaker Title
1.00 – 2.00 Lunch
Session 1 Helminth epidemiology
2.00 Marisol Collins, University of Liverpool. The HyData Project: Investigating the distribution of Echinococcus granulosus (sensu lato) in the UK
2.20 Martha Betson, University of Surrey. Molecular epidemiology of Ascaris and Trichuris
2.40 Catherine McLeonard, University of Liverpool. Controlling the uncontrollable: predicting the risk of lungworm outbreaks in dairy herds in the UK?
3.00 Ludovica Beltrame, University of Bristol. Simulating the risk of Liver Fluke infection using a mechanistic hydro-epidemiological model
3.20 Tea / coffee
Session 2 Arthropods and arthropod-borne diseases
4.00 Richard Wall, University of Bristol. Tick and tick-borne disease surveillance in the UK: the Big Tick Project
4.20 Roger Daniel, Animal and Plant Health Agency. Inter-current tick-borne fever infection and Bibersteinia trehalosi septicaemia in a five week old lamb
4.40 Mark Eisler, University of Bristol. Vector-borne diseases of African livestock: modelling the hard way
5.00 Close
7.30 Dinner

 Friday 15th April

Time Speaker Title
Session 3 Detection and management of anthelmintic resistance
9.00 Gerald Coles, University of Bristol. A fresh look at anthelmintic resistance in sheep
9.20 Jonathan Love, University of Strathclyde. Probability distributions of faecal egg count data and their impact on investigating anthelmintic efficacy
9.40 Hannah Rose, University of Bristol. Attitudes of horse owners to faecal egg count directed treatment strategies
10.00 BAVP AGM
10.30 Tea / coffee
Session 4 New therapies and aetiologies
11.00 Esther Rawlinson, Merial Animal Health. Prevention of the establishment of Angiostrongylus vasorum infestation in dogs through monthly oral administration of milbemycin oxime/afoxolaner
11.20 Hany Elsheikha, University of Nottingham. The inhibitory effect of monensin (a Wnt signalling inhibitor) on the growth of Toxoplasma gondii infecting human brain cells in vitro.
11.40 Siân Mitchell, Animal and Plant Health Agency. Neospora caninum as a cause of arthrogryposis in a lamb
12.00 Lunch and close


Feb 15

BAVP 2016 – Bristol 14th-15th April


We are pleased to invite you to this year’s BAVP meeting in Bristol on Thursday 14th (pm) and Friday 15th April (am), at the University of Bristol main precinct (Will’s Memorial building, Queen’s Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1RJ).

converted PNM file

The meeting will follow the traditional format of invited and submitted presentations on Thurs 14th (1-5pm), followed by an informal conference dinner in a nearby restaurant, and a morning session on Friday (9am-12pm), consisting of submitted short presentations in any area of veterinary parasitology. The meeting is usually small, informal and convivial.


Full rate £50; students £25. This includes buffet lunch and tea/coffee on both days, but not the evening meal or accommodation.

There is a wide choice of affordable hotel and hostel accommodation in the area. The city is well served by public transport, with both coach and rail stations an easy walk from the venue. Car parking is possible in nearby multi-storey car parks if you have to drive. More details will be provided on registration.

To register, send your name and a cheque, payable to ‘BAVP’, to:

David Bartley, Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland EH26 0PZ. Please send e-mail address with your cheque.

If they prefer, members may send an email to eric.morgan@bristol.ac.uk to confirm attendance, and pay at the conference front desk by cash or cheque. Receipts will be provided.

Abstracts should be submitted electronically using the form below to eric.morgan@bristol.ac.uk

Deadlines: Abstracts: 15th March; notification of acceptance 20th March; Registration: 1st April. Please register early if you can to help organisation.

CPD certificates will be issued for each half day of attendance.