Barber Pole Worm Treatment for Sheep Cleared for Canada

Canadian sheep producers will now have access to Elanco Animal Health’s Flukiver (closantel) for the treatment of Haemonchus contortus (Barber Pole worm) in ewes and lambs.

The oral anthelmintic was was only available through an Emergency Drug Release before now.

Haemonchus contortus is incredibly costly to the Canadian sheep industry. Of all the gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) found in sheep, Haemonchus contortus is the most pathogenic, causing significant performance losses, morbidity, and mortality.

Treatment with an effective dewormer is important in controlling H. contortus in both ewes and lambs. Ivermectin and fenbendazole are the most common dewormers used in Canada to treat H. contortus infections; however, recent research in Ontario has demonstrated widespread resistance to both of these drugs, particularly in H. contortus.

Jennifer MacTavish, general manager of the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency, says the addition of Canadian, sheep-specific labels for animal health products are crucial for the sheep industry. “Sheep producers need to be able to adequately treat their animals in a responsible and safe manner. Access to more approved products is critical to manage sheep health, and also allow the industry to manage judicious use of the products,” she says.

Latest medications to receive approval for use on sheep:

  • Decoquinate for control of coccidiosis (Deccox, Zoetis)
  • Closantel for the treatment of haemonchus nematode parasite (Flukiver, Elanco Animal Health)
  • Long-acting ocytetracyline for the treatment of pneumonia and footrot (LA-200, Zoetis)
  • Derquantel-abamectin for treatment of gastrointestinal nematode parasites (Startect, Zoetis)
  • Meloxicam as an anti-inflammatory and pain medication (Metacam, Boehringer Ingleheim

Flukiver is the fifth medication to receive a Canadian label for sheep use in the last 11 months through the minor use approval process (see sidebar). The process was developed by Health Canada’s Veterinarian Drug Directorate. The Sheep Value Chain Roundtable‘s animal health strategy working group complies lists of priority products and works in collaboration with the directorate to get them labeled for use in sheep.

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