Dog and cat management and its importance in Livestock Production

Many holdings have cats present for rodent control, and dogs for working the flock or herd. The management of both farm cats and dogs should be considered asimportant as it can, in fact, have a great effect on livestock health and performance.


But have you ever wondered why this is important and what exactly it has to do with livestock production?

Cattle and sheep can be detrimentally affected by numerous different species of parasitic worms, some of which are successful by being hosted by cats and dogs.  Most livestock production units invest a large sum of money worming their livestock however, fail to worm farm cats and dogs. Failure to routinely worm cats and dogs present on the farm can affect the productivity of livestock and can even cause carcass rejection at the abattoir.  

The FAWL Standards state that all farm dogs and cats should be wormed routinely and records should be kept in the medicine book.


If you need advice on dog or cat worming, consult you vet.



Dogs can become infected with tapeworm by ingesting cysts from raw offal or carcasses, which, in time, develop into adult tapeworm within the dogs digestive tract. The worm eggs are then excreted by the dog and can easily be ingested by livestock on the yard or on pasture. The ingested eggs hatch and migrate in the livestock  and can develop into cysts. Tapeworm can cause considerable losses including poor performance, longer finishing times due to loss of appetite in livestock (especially sheep) with moderate to severe infestations and  can lead to other health problems due to immuno-suppression. This problem can also lead to Hydatid disease in humans. 





Toxoplasmosis gondii is a parasite which affects sheep. It causes abortion which results in economic losses. It is a zoonoses, meaning that it can affect humans and can cause misscariage or still birth in women. Infections by Toxomplasmosis will remain as tissue cysts in the brain and muscles of animals, including sheep. 

Toxomplasma eggs (oocysts) are produced by cats in their faeces- cats are the definitive host. Sheep can become infected following ingestion of oocysts which have contaminated pastures, concentrate feed or water.

Deworming cats does not have an effect however, there is an effective vaccine to prevent toxoplasmosis in sheep. Nontheless, it is always advisable that feed stores and water troughs are checked for presence of cat faeces as Toxoplasmosis can pose a risk to humans.







WLBP Sites...


External News Links...

Farmers Weekly / Farmers Guardian / Wales Online

Useful Links...

Welsh Government / DEFRA / Farming Connect

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