Duck shooting is here and so is the potential threat of sheep measles being spread from unwormed dogs tramping across farms.
The season brings about a spike in the rise of measles spreading with vets urging hunters to get their dogs wormed at least 48 hours before visiting farms.
Dan Lynch from Ovis Management says farmers should question who is on their properties and get hunters to provide some form of worming evidence such as a treatment certificate.
"A phone conversation prior to duck shooting with hunters who intend to come on to your farm is well worth having and can save a lot of grief not to mention the potential loss of thousands of dollars " he says.
He says duck shooters should be getting their dogs wormed a few days before arriving as dogs can shed sheep measle eggs up to 48 hours after treatment.
Lynch says Ovis Management will be sending out the first of three high prevalence notifications to 15 sheep farmers in the Whanganui district, down from 26 contacted around duck shooting 2018.
Although the prevalence in Whanganui has reduced from last year, Lynch says there is still a high chance for the tapeworm parasite to reproduce rapidly.
Sean Cummins, local Shepard and keen duck shooter says all his work dogs and duck dogs are wormed once a month and he checks with any of his friends before letting their dogs on his property.
"It's really important to worm dogs that are on farms regularly as worms spread easily enough without the help of dogs contributing to the problem," he says.
The tapeworm parasite is picked up by dogs when fed uncooked or raw and contaminated sheep or goat meat.
Dogs with the parasite then excrete millions of eggs within their faeces which when blown onto a sheep pasture can affect sheep within a 10km radius and stay alive for up to 6 months.
"It shouldn't just be a now thing to get dogs wormed."
"Tapeworm is tapeworm," says Senior Veterinarian Nicola King from First Vets Whanganui.
She says dog owners should be worming their dogs every one to three months to keep on top of it.
Only feeding dogs frozen or cooked sheep and goat meat and disposing of all dead livestock so dogs cannot scrounge is another good way to stop dogs from getting the parasite she says.
All veterinary services provide worming tablets such as Droncit and Drontal Allwormer along with a treatment certificate.