Sheep farmers must integrate new anthelmintic groups into their worming strategies now, says the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group.
In a statement issued today, SCOPS says that the recent announcement that Elanco’s Zolvix will become a POM-VPS product on 1st July has “understandably sparked some controversy”. However, it says that scientific evidence supports the need to integrate new anthelmintic groups into worming strategies at an early stage.
“SCOPS does not consider simply sitting back and waiting for other anthelmintic groups to fail before using the new actives as a sensible option,” says independent sheep consultant and SCOPS member Lesley Stubbings. “We must get these new actives used, they are not doing any good sat on the shelf.”
“This approach does not help to prolong the life of the older actives, nor does it protect the new active itself, because heavy reliance on a new group once the others have failed will bring about accelerated resistance over a short period of time, as we have seen in the Netherlands.”
SCOPS says that the use of new actives (groups 4 and 5) has been “woefully low” and represents only around 1% of total wormer doses in the UK in 2015/16.
“At this level there are two problems,” says Lesley. “First, it is too little to have any significant impact on the development of anthelmintic resistance (AR) to other groups and second, there was a danger that these products may have been withdrawn if revenue was overtaken by the cost of keeping them on the market. That would have been a disaster.
“Added to this is the stark fact that the situation with AR is getting worse year on year, with reports of resistance to the 3-ML group now becoming commonplace.”
SCOPS says it recognizes that this change represents a significant challenge and will continue to provide the right guidance and training to SQPs, pharmacists and vets to ensure Zolvix is used responsibly. AMTRA has already announced that additional SQP training will begin soon.
SCOPS says that the way Zolvix is prescribed will be monitored, so providing evidence of responsible use.