The Famacha five-point plan was developed by Dr Faffa Malan, in collaboration with Prof Gareth Bath and Dr Jan van Wyk, to help farmers examine their animals for parasites on-farm.
The Famacha system compares the colour of sheep and goats’ eyelids to the colours on a chart to measure their levels of anaemia (internal parasite infestation). Only heavily infested animals are treated, keeping anthelmintic resistance to a minimum while also identifing animals with natural parasite resistance.
The Famacha five-point plan
A five-point examination plan has been drawn up that producers can use to combat most parasites on a farm. Step one involves the Famacha method. The other four checks in the plan include:
The nasal area: The nose can be checked as this will easily indicate whether the animal has any nasal infestations. The nose will show a watery discharge, which inhibits the animal’s sense of smell and has a negative effect on weight gain. Other diseases and parasites that may be identified with this examination are lungworm, pneumonia, bluetongue and orf.
Body condition score: To determine the body condition score, the animal’s loin must be measured. Emaciated animals in particular are likely to be infested with parasites such as brown stomach worm, bankrupt worm, long-necked bankrupt worm, nodule worm and pear-shaped stomach fluke.
Faecal examination: Examining a sheep or goat’s hind area may indicate whether the animal is infected with parasites. Clean buttocks are a sign of good animal health. However, if there are faeces sticking to the wool and soiling the animal’s hind legs, it is a clear indication of diarrhoea, which is often caused by parasites. Diseases or parasites that can cause diarrhoea are brown stomach worm, bankrupt worm, long-necked bankrupt worm, nodule worm, whipworm, pear-shaped stomach fluke, cryptosporidiosis and coccidiosis.
Bottle jaw: Bottle jaw is a common clinical sign of wireworm and liver fluke infestation. These parasites can cause weight loss and mortalities and have an impact on the animal’s immunity and fertility.
It is very important to quarantine animals that are bought in, after which the five-point plan and faecal egg counts can be used to prevent resistant parasites from entering the herd
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