Sheep measles

Do you know your dog could be costing farmers money?

Dogs are part of the lifecycle of a tapeworm called Cysticercus ovis. This worm causes ‘sheep measles'.

Dogs become infected by ingesting infected meat. The tapeworm releases eggs which are found in the dog's faeces and these infect sheep, causing disease. Sheep measles are small cysts found throughout the meat of infected sheep and goats.  The cysts begin as small, clear ‘blisters' within and on the surface of the meat; over time, these calcify to become white and gritty. 
Sheep measles life cycle

While they pose no risk at all to human health, a diner slicing into a perfectly prepared New Zealand French rack in a European restaurant expects to see flawless, tender lamb - one little gritty cyst is all it takes to ruin this experience! Thus sheep measles are a quality and market access issue for the entire NZ meat industry. Because of this, meat inspectors examine carcasses carefully, trim and downgrade any that are affected.


If feeding sheep meat to dogs, ensure it has been either frozen to -10°C or colder for a minimum of seven days, or heated to at least 72°C throughout. This will inactivate any cysts (which would infect the dog).

Ensure dogs do not have access to raw sheep or goat meat - bury any dead carcasses.

Most importantly, any dogs that are on farms or have access to farms including small blocks should be dosed for tapeworms. This can be done by giving an all-wormer such as Drontal® every three months, with monthly treatments of a praziquantal wormer such as Wormicide Tape® to target tapeworms specifically. This will ensure your dog is free of Cysticercus ovis

Our meat export market is important to New Zealand. Please protect it by worming your dog's appropriately if they are going to be around sheep at all.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit the sheep measles website -


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