Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer Paul Beltz said this blood sucking stomach parasite thrives in warm, moist conditions where it can build up very quickly and result in the death of affected animals.
"Barber's pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is present on farms across Victoria but rarely causes disease as our climate doesn't normally favour it reproducing rapidly," Dr Beltz said.
"Female Barber's pole worms lay large numbers of eggs, so a rapid population explosion is likely when weather conditions favour it, such as those that we are experiencing now," he said.
"Sheep producers now checking their stock for flies should also be aware of the symptoms of a Barber's pole worm infestation."
The Senior Veterinary Officer said affected sheep will be weak and have very pale eyelids and gums.
"This worm does not cause scouring and affected sheep will have firm pellets. In some instances, the first sign may be sheep dying," Beltz said.
"There are a number of tests that can easily diagnose Barber's pole, such as a faecal egg count (FEC) or sheep necropsy," he said.
"Fortunately, in Victoria most drenches should control the disease."
More information about Barber's pole worm is available in the Agriculture Victoria Sheep Note, available at: http://go.vic.gov.au/Uv20K1
For further information please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer.