Flystrike in Lambs and Sheep

Flystrike is when a blowfly lays eggs in the fleece of the sheep and the eggs hatch into the larvae that in turn become maggots. These maggots then eat into the skin and tissue of the sheep.

Flystrike is most likely to happen underneath the tails of lambs and sheep so keeping a close eye on this area especially in the warmer weather is important. Also keep an eye out for small nicks, cuts or abrasions on your sheep as flies are very attracted to blood and can start laying eggs very quickly. Flystrike can happen anywhere on the body, not only under the tails. 

Photo of flystrike

 

Times of the year most prevalent

Warmer weather – more blowflies

Warm day following rain if the sheep have got wet and the fleece is moist

Following shearing due to the possibility of cuts.

Symptoms

Lethargy

Unusual behaviour

Hanging of the head

Walking displays physical discomfort

Unusual smell

Being off their food

Small white maggots (can look like worms) may be visible. The larger the maggots the longer they have been there.

 

Treatment

Wipe away maggots with a warm wet cloth, can slightly wet or dampen the cloth in with some iodine and water

Many maggots will fall out with the wiping but if not all are removed apply water pressure with a 20 ml or 50ml syringe or even a hose as the maggots may have dug in too far for wiping to be effective

Spray generously with Extinosad 

Check the rest of the sheep for maggots

Treat sheep with antibiotics in case of infection and pain relief

Check again 24 hours later

If you see your sheep/lamb has a cut or abrasion spray with Extinosad after cleaning immediately.

Cut away any dirty wool from the bottom area, maggots can also live in the wool.

In severe cases a course of antibiotics may be needed.

 

 

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