One of the great things about owning a dog is the chance to take the dog into a new area, and have the opportunity of allowing the dog additional freedom possibly not available at home. Many of New Zealand’s recreation areas are adjacent to farm land, or even on land where sheep graze. If you are taking your dog out to a rural area or an urban one grazed by sheep, have a chat with your vet about how you can ensure your pet doesn’t leave any unpleasant surprises behind.

Rural Contractors

Rural contractors visit numerous farms in their roles, & as a result any dog they have with them will also have been on a variety of farms.  If this dog gets access to a dead sheep carcass on any previous farm it can contaminate other farms, as much as weeks later.

Where possible, contractors should not bring dogs onto sheep farms unless they are required. In the case that the contractor does take their dog with them, they need to be able to show the farmer clear evidence that the dog has been treated for sheep measles within 30 days, and no later than 48 hours ago.

These include dogs with:

  • Stock agents
  • Shepherds
  • Lamb drafters
  • Truck operators
  • Dipping contractors
  • Shearers
  • Casual workers
  • Musterers
  • Fencers
  • External predator control

Urbanites

Sheep Measles occurs when dogs have access to raw or untreated sheep or goat meat.  Many urban people are unaware of the issue, and don’t realise that their pet dogs can transfer the disease to sheep, by defecating on or near farm pasture.  Even a “poop” not collected on the rural road, can mean eggs are either blown onto pasture or carried by flies.

You may live near the country, or you may be visiting cousins in the holidays – regardless of why you have your dog on or near a farm, the best method to ensure it is free of Sheep Measles is to treat it with Praziquantel drugs within one month or at least 48 hours prior to going onto farm land.

Rules for having dogs in the country:

  1. If going on private land, always ask permission from the Farmer.
  2. Dose all dogs with a Praziquantel drug at least 48 hours or within one month prior to going.
  3. Carry some evidence of treatment such as a treatment certificate or receipt from vet. Any decision to allow entry to a dog rests with the Farmer.
  4. Carry enough bags to pick up and remove dog faeces should your dog defecate.
Many recreation sites, such as walkways, DoC sites, public cycleways etc are bordered by farmland.  If you are going on public land near sheep pasture, please apply the same policies to prevent the spread of sheep measles.

Be Wary of Feeding Sheep or Goat Meat to Dogs

As the carriers of the Sheep Measles tapeworms, meat from sheep or goats needs to be treated by freezing at -10°c for 10 days, or cooking until brown throughout prior to feeding.

Sheep or goat meat purchased from a butchers or supermarket CANNOT be guaranteed to be sheep measles free and should ALWAYS be treated before feeding to dogs. This includes any bones or off-cuts designated as petfood.

Vineyard or Orchard Grazing

Treat vineyards or orchards like pasture and do not take dogs onto these areas unless they have been treated.

Before going to vineyards ring and check if dogs are allowed but make sure they have been dosed at least 48 hours before entry.

If you are a vineyard owner or are managing a vineyard that is grazed by sheep, ensure all dogs that enter the vineyard and surrounds are on a regular dosing programme. Dogs with workers should be discouraged, as should people walking dogs through the vineyards, unless they have evidence the dogs have been treated for Sheep Measles. Those Vineyards with wine tastings, cafes or restaurants should ensure that dog owners know these rules as well, as many will have never heard of the issue.

Lifestyle Blockers

Living in a rural area provides a great chance to really enjoy the environment and let your dog run free. However, in many cases small blocks are adjacent to farming operations so some key points to consider if you have a dog on a small block:

  • Don’t leave your dog to wander free especially if you or other family members go away to work during the day. A dog left running free can cause significant damage and despite owners opinions they will stray.
  • Have the dog on a regular treatment programme best discussed with your vet.

Horse & Hound Clubs

At all times any dogs present at such events on rural land should be treated for Sheep Measles within one month or at least 48 hours prior to attending. You should also have a dog treatment certificate, demonstrating this has taken place.

Please check here to understand more about what Sheep Measles is and how to treat your dogs.

Dog Trial or other Dog Clubs

At all times any dogs present at such events on rural land should be treated for Sheep Measles within one month or at least 48 hours prior to attending. You should also have a dog treatment certificate, demonstrating this has taken place.

Please check here to understand more about what Sheep Measles is and how to treat your dogs.

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