The FAMACHA© System –The use of the FAMACHA© system allows small ruminant producers to make selective deworming decisions based on an estimated level of anemia in sheep and goats affected by barber pole worm infections. The barber pole worm is the most economically important parasite affecting small ruminant production on pasture, causing varying levels of anemia (reduction below normal in the number of red cells in the blood) and in severe cases death. Worldwide anthelmintic (anti-parasitic) resistance has been reported in all current dewormers available to treat the barber pole worm and other gastrointestinal nematodes. The FAMACHA© system aids in selective deworming, minimizing the use of dewormers and slowing the rate of drug resistant parasite population development. The FAMACHA© system also aids in selective breeding decisions by identifying those animals that are most susceptible to barber pole worm infection.
The FAMACHA© card, developed in South Africa, was introduced to the U.S. by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC); (https://www.wormx.info/). The FAMACHA© card is a tool that matches the color of the eye mucous membranes of small ruminants with a laminated color chart showing five color categories corresponding to different levels of anemia. Category 1, red, represents a “not anemic” animal with category 5, pale white, representing a “severely anemic” animal. The FAMACHA© system uses the numeric scores determined with the card to identify and selectively deworm sheep and goats with anemia.
This online training program was developed by Katherine Petersson, PhD, (University of Rhode Island) and Anne Zajac, DVM, (VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech.) members of the ACSRPC, as part of a Northeast SARE grant and is administered by the University of Rhode Island. The ACSRPC fully endorses the program for those who are unable to attend a workshop.
- Participants must be 13 years of age or older and reside in the U.S or Canada.
- Facilitated group classes are available. We ask for at least one month’s notice and for teachers / facilitators to complete the training prior to leading the class.
This Online FAMACHA© Certification program is available to participants residing in the U.S. or Canada and can be obtained through a 3-step process.
1. Watch the four training videos:
- Part 1: An Introduction to Worm Basics (14:27 min)
- Part 2: Utilizing Dewormers and Understanding the Development of Dewormer Resistance (12:05 min)
- Part 3: Integrated Parasite Management (12:22 min)
- Part 4: Utilizing the FAMACHA© system (17:17 min)
2. Complete the follow-up assessment:
After viewing the training videos take the follow-up assessment by clicking here. You may take the assessment as many times as necessary to complete the assessment with a score of 80% or higher.
View the FAMACHA© technique training video below for demonstrating the FAMACHA© technique. Make and send us a video demonstrating the FAMACHA© technique on both eyes of two animals. For this demonstration video please use an index card in place of an actual FAMACHA© card. Introduce yourself and demonstrate the FAMACHA© technique on both eyes of two animals, holding up the mock FAMACHA© card to the eye mucous membrane. It is ok to have assistance, recording, restraining and holding the mock FAMACHA© card. Email the video to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your video is too large to send, please email us and we will help setup a temporary google share folder.
Upon completing the 3-step online training program listed above, the participant will receive a Certificate of Competence in the use of the FAMACHA© anemia scoring system. The certificate will enable participants to purchase a FAMACHA© card through the University of Rhode Island. The price of the FAMACHA© card is subject to change, but is under $20.00. Exact cost and instructions for purchasing a card will be provided upon completion of this online training program.
Contacts for Online FAMACHA© Certification:
Dr. Katherine Petersson, PhD, Animal Scientist and Project Leader
Dept. Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Rhode Island
Phone: (401) 874-2951
120 Flagg Road, CBLS Room 177
Kingston, RI 02881
For more information about this online education program, as well as opportunities for assistance with selective breeding for parasite resistance, visit our project page – Building on success: expanding opportunities for sustainable management of small ruminant gastrointestinal parasites
For more information about the FAMACHA© System and small ruminant parasite control, visit the American Consortium of Small Ruminant Parasite Control.
This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program Project LNE19-381, and USDA NIFA Animal Health and Disease Research Project 1007290. URI provides equal program opportunity.