Main content area

Rapid assessment of faecal egg count and faecal egg count reduction through composite sampling in cattle

Rinaldi, Laura, Amadesi, Alessandra, Dufourd, Elaudy, Bosco, Antonio, Gadanho, Marion, Lehebel, Anne, Maurelli, Maria Paola, Chauvin, Alain, Charlier, Johannes, Cringoli, Giuseppe, Ravinet, Nadine, Chartier, Christophe
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 353
anthelmintics, benzimidazoles, cost effectiveness, eggs, excretion, farms, fecal egg count, feces, gastrointestinal nematodes, heifers, ivermectin, livestock and meat industry, rapid methods, France, Italy
BACKGROUND: Faecal egg counts (FEC) and the FEC reduction test (FECRT) for assessing gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infection and efficacy of anthelmintics are rarely carried out on ruminant farms because of the cost of individual analyses. The use of pooled faecal samples is a promising method to reduce time and costs, but few studies are available for cattle, especially on the evaluation of different pool sizes and FECRT application. METHODS: A study was conducted to assess FEC strategies based on pooled faecal samples using different pool sizes and to evaluate the pen-side use of a portable FEC-kit for the assessment of FEC on cattle farms. A total of 19 farms representing 29 groups of cattle were investigated in Italy and France. On each farm, individual faecal samples from heifers were collected before (D0) and two weeks after (D14) anthelmintic treatment with ivermectin or benzimidazoles. FEC were determined individually and as pooled samples using the Mini-FLOTAC technique. Four different pool sizes were used: 5 individual samples, 10 individual samples, global and global on-farm. Correlations and agreements between individual and pooled results were estimated with Spearman’s correlation coefficient and Lin’s concordance correlation coefficients, respectively. RESULTS: High correlation and agreement coefficients were found between the mean of individual FEC and the mean of FEC of the different pool sizes when considering all FEC obtained at D0 and D14. However, these parameters were lower for FECR calculation due to a poorer estimate of FEC at D14 from the faecal pools. When using FEC from pooled samples only at D0, higher correlation and agreement coefficients were found between FECR data, the better results being obtained with pools of 5 samples. Interestingly, FEC obtained on pooled samples by the portable FEC-kit on-farm showed high correlation and agreement with FEC obtained on individual samples in the laboratory. This field approach has to be validated on a larger scale to assess its feasibility and reliability. CONCLUSIONS: The present study highlights that the pooling strategy and the use of portable FEC-kits on-farm are rapid and cost-effective procedures for the assessment of GIN egg excretion and can be used cautiously for FECR calculation following the administration of anthelmintics in cattle.