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A comparison of two different anthelmintic treatment regimens against natural gastrointestinal nematode infections on two Lithuanian sheep farms
- Kupcinskas, Tomas, Stadaliene, Inga, Paulauskas, Algimantas, Trusevicius, Pavelas, Petkevicius, Saulius, Höglund, Johan, Sarkunas, Mindaugas
- Acta veterinaria scandinavica 2017 v.59 no.1 pp. 68
- Nematoda, adults, body condition, ewes, farms, fecal egg count, fenbendazole, flocks, gastrointestinal nematodes, grazing, ivermectin, lambs, larvae, livestock and meat industry, morbidity, nematode infections, parasitism, refuge habitats, risk, spring, Lithuania
- BACKGROUND: According to targeted treatment (TT), the whole flock is dewormed based on knowledge of the risk, or parameters that quantify the mean level of infection, whereas according to targeted selective treatment (TST), only individual animals within the grazing group are treated, based on parasitological, production and/or morbidity parameters. The aim of this study was to compare two different treatment protocols on sheep farms in Lithuania. The study was conducted from 15 April to 31 October 2014 on three sheep farms. On the TT (the whole flock) and T(S)T (with FECs ≥ 300, respectively) farms all adult animals were treated orally with fenbendazole irrespective of EPG counts before the grazing season. The second treatment was applied with injectable ivermectin on both farms. However, on the TT farm all sheep were also treated on 2nd August regardless of their EPG counts, while on the T(S)T farm only those animals with an EPG ≥ 300 were treated on 1 July using a threshold of ≥ 300 EPG. No treatments were administered on the control farm (n = 1) during the study. RESULTS: Spring treatment of ewes significantly reduced nematode faecal egg counts (FEC) both on the TT and T(S)T farms, with the benefit of lowering pasture contamination with infective L₃ stage larvae at the start of grazing season, while it remained significantly higher on the control farm. The positive effect of the spring treatment of ewes was reflected by increased body weight gains (BWG) in lambs in the first half of the grazing season. Following the second treatment, the weight gains in lambs on the T(S)T farm were higher compared to lambs on the TT farm, while BWG in the control lambs started to decrease. The difference was also substantiated by the body condition scores (BCS) and dag scores (DS) of lambs, which were highest on the T(S)T farm compared with those on the control and TT farms. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study show that both treatment strategies were useful in reducing clinical effects (BCS and DS) of gastrointestinal nematode parasitism and increasing the performance in lambs. Furthermore, on the T(S)T farm some of animals were left in refugia, helping to slow down the development of anthelmintic resistance (AR) in future.