28th March 2024

The Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS) group has launched a survey for vets to find out more about lungworm and its treatment across the UK.

Through the survey, COWS hopes to learn more about when outbreaks of lungworm are occurring, what class of stock is most affected, what clinical signs are seen and how well they respond to treatment. This will help COWS track lungworm cases throughout the 2024 grazing season.

The survey can be accessed at https://uk.surveymonkey.com/r/lungworms and can also be found on the COWS website in the News section.

“In recent years, we have been aware of reports of suspected lack of efficacy of wormers to treat lungworm infections in cattle,” says Helen Carty, Veterinary Centre Manager for the SRUC.

“But no-one is sure whether this due to growing resistance of lungworm to the wormers or is it solely down to poor administration, such as under-dosing or inappropriate timing?

“Many farmers use a pour-on when they hear cattle coughing out in the fields. If the cough goes away, it is presumed that the wormer has worked. If they cough again, what should the farmer do? It can be hard to know if the cough is because lungworm are still present, or have the cattle developed a bacterial infection because their lungs were damaged?”


Following a VMD-supported industry workshop held by COWS at Moredun in March 2023, it was recognised that taking a standardised approach to assessing wormer efficacy will help understand these issues.

COWS has devised a pro-forma on Survey Monkey for vets to fill in and submit when they come across cases of lungworm. The collated, anonymised data from the survey will be used to form the basis of future discussions around the issue.

“We would like vets to supply information from lungworm outbreaks, tell us about any testing undertaken and response to treatment,” says Ms Carty.

“We are not expecting to see a lot of survey forms coming in until the second half of the grazing season but want vets to be aware that the survey is available. The priority at the moment is for young cattle to be vaccinated before turnout if they are on farms with a high risk of lungworm.”

Where efficacy testing takes place, faecal samples are best collected on the day of treatment and 14 days later. Lungworms collected from post mortem can also be submitted to Moredun for further investigation. Details of how to take samples and where to send them to are outlined in the survey.

If there is a suspected lack of efficacy, vets are asked to ensure the VMD and pharmaceutical company are notified.

The results of the survey will be released in 2025.