story to find out more.
Sheep and goat producers can avoid spending money
on de-worming treatments, thanks to an eye-color chart developed in South
Africa and tested here by ARS researchers. Click the image for more
information about it.
Eyeing a Test for Barber Pole Worm
By Luis Pons
February 15, 2006
A test in the form of a plastic
card featuring pictures of the eyes of sheep may help thwart the spread of
barber pole worm, Haemonchus contortus, a parasite of small ruminants
thats becoming increasingly resistant to the chemicals used to control
The test, called the FAMACHA eye color chart, can help sheep and goat
producers save money by allowing them to deworm only the animals that need it,
according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) animal scientist
Burke. This would slow the spread of chemical-resistant parasites through
more efficient identification, treatment and removal of infected animals.
Barber pole worms are microscopic, blood-sucking pests that thrive in heat
and humidity and induce fatal cases of anemia and bottle jaw
disease in animals.
The worms' increasing resistance to control chemicals--a result of
widespread use of treatments--now threatens the entire goat and sheep
population of the eastern United States, according to Burke, at ARS
Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, Ark.
The test is named after its developer, South African livestock
parasitologist Francois Fafa Malan. The chart shows five
high-resolution photographs that focus on shades of redness of the inner
eyelids of sheep. Pale inner eyelids can be indicative of the parasites
Burke, whos working with the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant
Parasite Control (SCSRPC) to find the most
effective ways to use the test, warned that using the actual chart, and not
copies, is essential for gaining accurate results.
The test was 92 percent accurate in a study Burke and other collaborators
conducted on sheep and goats in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and the
U.S. Virgin Islands.
Information on obtaining the test is on SCSRPC's website,
www.scsrpc.org. Nonveterinarians can
purchase the chart only after being trained in its use.
more about the research in the February 2006 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.