Of the four main species of worm that do most of the damage in sheep flocks, Barbers Pole is the one that the majority of producers are often most concerned about. This may be warranted as they have a very bad reputation. Prolific egg layers these blood sucking parasites often go undetected in mobs until numbers escalate to very high levels and clinical signs and losses emerge. As they are blood suckers, Haemonchus (Barbers Pole Worm) do not cause scouring, they do cause animals to become anemic and pale gums and swelling under the jaw are classic signs but its important to not they are not the only parasites that cause such symptoms.
In the Lab we have been seeing some very high Barbers Pole levels over the winter. This may seem strange to some thinking that Barbers Pole is a summer species. But that is now not really the case. Given the moisture, current levels of Barbers Pole in mobs and as the weather warms there is no doubt numbers will explode, so unless producers are on top of there worm burden now the contamination onto pastures is simply a seeding event for the coming spring.
It’s really important not to focus only of Barbers Pole. Most worm burdens we see in the lab that include Barbers Pole, are mixed infections. That is as well as Barbers Pole they include some or all of the following as well, Black Scour, Brown Stomach Worm and Nematodirus and sometime in very high levels.