Problem: Drench resistance has reduced drench options on your property and/or barber’s pole worm is a significant problem year-round and you are in need of a new approach to barber's pole worm control.
Benefit: This vaccine provides a major alternative to drench-based control and will help manage worms in the face of drench resistance. Barbervax will be of particular benefit in barber’s pole-endemic regions where frequent drenching may be necessary to prevent sheep deaths.
The vaccine is given to sheep and lambs as a series of subcutaneous injections of 1 ml, at no more than 6-week intervals to cover the barber’s pole worm-risk season (in the NSW Northern Tablelands, generally December to April).
Further vaccinations need to be given each 6 weeks while there is a barber’s pole worm risk or more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.
Why must the Barbervax vaccine be used so frequently?
Immunity to barber’s pole worm is not sustained, whether it is acquired by exposure to natural worm infections or from the Barbervax vaccine. Barbervax immunity works in a different way from naturally acquired immunity and because it is not boosted by natural exposure, lasts for only 6 weeks after the sheep has been primed by a series of 3 vaccinations.
Other vaccines given to sheep also vary in their lengths of protection. The Gudair vaccine for Ovine Johne’s Disease gives lifelong protection from a single vaccination, whereas a 5-in-1 vaccination needs 2 initial injections 4–6 weeks apart and annual boosters, but Pulpy Kidney vaccinations generally only provide about 3 months protection.
NOTE: This schedule should be followed accurately; do not extend the time periods between vaccinations.
Barbervax is not a knockdown product; some drenches will still be required while immunity is establishing and also for scour worms, which Barbervax does not affect. Only the recommended pre-lambing and weaning drenches are shown in the schedule, however, other drenches may also be required; monitor as per your regional WormBoss worm control program and Drench Decision Guide.
This schedule best suits lambs born in September or October. For lambs born at a different time it is best to seek advice from your sheep advisor, your re-seller or email email@example.com.
Key: V=vaccination, the number (1–6) refers to first, second (and so on) vaccination in the series given in one barber’s pole worm season.
1V3 should be given with an effective drench to control scour worms as well as any early barber’s pole worm and the lambs should be moved to a prepared low worm-risk paddock, ideally where sheep have not grazed for 3 months.
2Vaccinations V4 and beyond may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.
NOTE: 3Vaccinations beyond V1 may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.
4V3 should be given with an effective pre-lambing drench to control scour worms as well as any early barber’s pole worm and the ewes should be moved to a prepared low worm-risk lambing paddock that has been prepared over the previous 6 months.
5Vaccinations V4 and beyond may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.
4V1 should be given with an effective pre-lambing drench to control scour worms as well as any early barber’s pole worm and the ewes should be moved to a prepared low worm-risk lambing paddock that has been prepared over the previous 6 months.
You should also follow the recommendations in your regional WormBoss worm control program and Drench Decision Guide. It is strongly recommended that the worm egg counts of the lambs, hoggets and ewes are monitored. Ideally, a mob WormTest should be done 4–5 weeks after each effective (i.e. not the priming doses) vaccination from the third vaccination onwards, so that the result is known before the next vaccine muster. The WEC results will inform whether a drench is required and a culture will give further information about the worm types present.
It is important to remember that Barbervax does not replace the need for drench programs to control scour worms.
Grazing management to prepare low worm-risk paddocks to avoid significant barber’s pole intake will further enhance the effectiveness of vaccination, and breeding for worm resistant sheep provides complementary longer-term worm control. Sheep in poor body condition or showing signs of worms may not respond fully to vaccination, and may require additional support.
Barbervax can be purchased from a number of suppliers (Grazag, Landmark, Wilshire & Co and Walcha Veterinary Supplies). The price is between 75c and 88c per dose depending on pack size and supplier (at November 2018).
More technical details about Barbervax
The Barbervax vaccine is a potentially useful product for the control of barber's pole worm in goats, not just sheep.
Unfortunately, the registration trials of the Barbervax vaccine in Australia gave mixed results and registration was not completed. However, results comparable with use in sheep are being seen in other countries.
For this reason, if you have a serious ongoing barber's pole worm problem in goats, consider trialling the Barbervax vaccine on your property under the direction of your veterinarian.
The use of Barbervax in goats in Australia is “off-label” and must be done with a veterinarian’s prescription.
WormBoss recommends that the vaccine be evaluated initially with a strict monitoring program of worm egg counts and eye colour assessment at specific times and intervals to determine effectiveness on your property.
As such, ParaBoss has developed testing/assessment guidelines for veterinarians to assist clients wishing to use Barbervax® in goats.
Veterinarians can also request the pdf booklet, Worm Control in Goats: Advice for Australian Veterinarians from ParaBoss: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The vaccine was trialled in three NSW goat herds with a view to registration. The mixed results are shown below.
The following paragraphs are extracts from the report: "Barbervax, a vaccine for Haemonchus contortus infection of sheep: attempts to extend the registration claim to include goats" by David Smith for Meat and Livestock Australia, 23 February 2016.
"Three efficacy field trials with kids were performed in the Northern Tablelands of NSW with a view to obtaining caprine registration in Australia. Unfortunately the results were mixed: one trial worked well, a second showed some positive effects, but a third failed. Because the anti-vaccine antibody responses were similar in all three trials, the underlying cause of the variable vaccine efficacy is not understood.
It was concluded that the results were too variable for registration to be granted by the regulators.
At Guyra the counts of the vaccinates were significantly reduced relative to the controls by 73% on average, at Dorrigo the figure was also statistically significant at 44% but at CSIRO, at 17%, it was not statistically significant.
Goat owners are reminded that Barbervax is a protective treatment against barber’s pole worm and when used in sheep relies on the use of effective anthelmintics for an initial “clean-out” of all worms, as well as ongoing use of drenches and worm egg count monitoring, as required, for scour worm control.