Parasite Watch, Sheep farming

Sheep Quarantine: 5 Key Tips

If new or returning sheep are not quarantined it is not only a disease risk but can also waste your time and money.  Resistant worms are then much more likely to be introduced to your flock with incoming animals and your usual treatments may not kill them. Find out why having a quarantine protocol is so important and how to best bring sheep on to the farm.

Protect your flock 

When a new sheep is introduced to your flock it’s not possible to know what parasites they are harbouring. Equally, members of your own flock who return from grazing elsewhere could also bring back with them resistant worms, sheep scab and various other diseases. When the two groups of sheep come together the key objective is to not affect your ability to manage parasites on your farm in the future.

All sheep, both bought-in and returning, must be quarantined before they join the rest of the flock. If they have picked up resistant worms or sheep scab on their travels, this reduces the risk of them passing it onto other flock members.

Sheep should be quarantined on a hard standing yard for a minimum 24-48 hours. This is enough time for eggs to pass through the gut and out into the faeces.  They will then drop onto the yard floor, and not onto your pasture.

Targeted Treatment

Before you release sheep from quarantine you want to be sure any treatment you give them kills off all parasites. Otherwise, the money you spend on treatments and the time you take to use it will be wasted. Your choice of products must represent the desired outcome.


STARTECT® is a dual active drench, which tackles worms that have become resistant to anthelmintics. Resistant worms cost the UK sheep farming industry £84 million every year and are therefore an enormous threat to sheep farmers. One of the biggest benefits of using STARTECT as a quarantine drench is that it contains two different active ingredients, meaning that what survives one drench is likely to be removed by the other. Therefore, it not only removes worms resistant to other products but prevents the development of resistance too1.

Sheep Quarantine 2


The latest advice is that sheep should be assessed as carrying sheep scab unless there is absolute assurance they are not. CYDECTIN® LA is a worm and scab treatment. Used alongside STARTECT it  will add a belt and braces approach to remove resistant worms and sheep scab at the same time preventing their introduction into your  flock.

After Quarantine

Your worm control plan is unique to your own flock and should always be discussed with your advisor. Management of parasites should revolve around worms that are resident on your premises and for the level of anthelmintic resistance on your farm. When sheep are introduced or reintroduced to your farm they must be quarantine treated to avoid bringing resistant worms on to the farm and then they can be included in your flock health plan that you know keeps the worm population under control and sheep scab at bay.

Following quarantine treatment, sheep should ideally be moved to pasture which is contaminated with resident worms in order to ensure any worms which do survive the quarantine treatment are then diluted by other susceptible worms already on the pasture. This is known as refugia and it is critical in slowing the development of anthelmintic resistance.

For further information on best practice quarantine and management of refugia visit the SCOPS website. 

  1. Bartram et al, 2012, The role of combination anthelmintic formulations in the sustainable control of sheep nematodes

STARTECT DUAL ACTIVE ORAL SOLUTION FOR SHEEP contains derquantel and abamectin. POM-V CYDECTIN 20 MG/ML LA SOLUTION FOR INJECTION FOR SHEEP contains moxidectin. POM-VPS For further information please see the product’s SPC or contact Zoetis UK Limited, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS. Customer Support: 0845 300 8034.Use medicines responsibly ( Date of preparation: September 2016