Many parasite infestations of livestock are easily recognised because they are either visible on the animals, they are visible in the environment or they have highly visible consequences such as diarrhoea (scouring), anaemia (pale mucous membranes) or pruritus (itching, rubbing and scratching).
The clinical signs of some parasitic infestations can be misleading as they are similar to those of other diseases, while other clinical signs can remain silent for weeks or months.
Where there has been a dramatic change in the condition of animals it is important to investigate if parasite infestation, disease or mineral deficiency is present with a veterinarian, especially in the absence of a drought or when there is seasonal feed shortage.
With all diseases, parasite infestations and nutritional deficiencies, the likelihood should be assessed based on previous local district and/or property history.
Increased population density increases the likelihood of transfer of parasites and diseases between animals. Intensification of beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat production systems is therefore likely to increase the risk of some parasite infestations.