Novartis Animal Health is listening to farmers - and the results are a significant breakthrough in sheep worm control worldwide
There are nearly 1.8 billion sheep worldwide. The animals are farmed in countries around the world for their wool, meat and milk.
Sheep play a major role in several countries, as they are less care-intensive and grow under tougher conditions than cattle. However, sheep farmers face many challenges, including parasites and infectious diseases, which can spread quickly from one sheep to another, due to their herding nature.
Learn more about the challenges faced by sheep farmers
Worm infection is one of the most common health problems in sheep worldwide. It often leads to diseases that can cause weight loss, diarrhea, dehydration, blood loss and, in some cases, death. Falling efficacy resulting in resistance to existing worm treatments is a growing issue faced by many sheep farmers.
Novartis Animal Health is committed to helping farmers win the fight against sheep worms. To do so, the company collaborated with the experts, their customers.
Listening to customer needs
For more than five years, Novartis Animal Health worked in intensive consultation with sheep farmers and veterinary experts worldwide, listening to and learning about their needs.
As part of this process, farmers and vets participated in field trials on more than 1 400 sheep. They gave feedback in a series of one-to-one meetings and advisory boards, providing Novartis Animal Health with valuable insights into the most pressing issues for their customers.
These insights guided the development of the company's new de-worming product: Zolvix (monepantel).
A breakthrough in worm control
Developed in just under five years, Zolvix is a significant breakthrough in worm control for sheep. As the first product in a new class of de-wormers, Zolvix shows unparalleled efficacy* in killing all key sheep gastro-intestinal roundworms (nematodes), including those resistant to existing treatments.
Bill Pomroy, Professor of Veterinary Parasitology at Massey University, New Zealand said: "The launch of Zolvix is a relief for farmers everywhere. For years now we've been watching the existing drenches become less and less effective as resistance took hold. We now have the option of using a product that can not only kill worms but hopefully which helps us to keep using the existing drenches longer."
With its novel mechanism of action, Zolvix is a significant advance in sheep worm treatment. However, the medicine is not the only innovation that resulted from the collaboration between sheep farmers, veterinarians and Novartis Animal Health.
Ergonomic, easy-to-use drenching system
To make it easier for farmers to treat ("drench") their livestock with Zolvix, Novartis Animal Health also introduced the de-worming OptimumTM Drench System, a medicine administering system.
Based on input from farmers and vets, the system's new, revolutionary drencher:
was developed for both female and male hand sizes
can be used with either the left or right hand
is ergonomically designed to ensure that farmers don't tire when using it over long periods of time
Derrick Millton, General Manager of the Millton Farming Company, Kaikoura, New Zealand said: "This is just what we've been waiting for. This totally new drench will be an advance for many farmers and is just what is needed. I'm particularly impressed by the way Novartis Animal Health developed this product with farmers in mind. It's not just a new drench, it's a whole new way of drenching."