Weight gain-based targeted selective treatments (TST) of gastrointestinal nematodes in first-season grazing cattle

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Abstract

A three-year trial was performed in south-western Sweden to compare animal performance and levels of parasite control in three grazing groups, each with 18-24 first-season grazing (FSG) calves in similar set-stocked pasture enclosures. These groups were subjected to: (1) no parasite control (NT), (2) monthly repeated doramectin (Dectomax®) injections (SP), or (3) targeted selective weight gain-based anthelmintic treatments (TST) but only when individual calf performance was inferior to the average of the poorer 50% of those calves in group SP. In each year, weight and parasitological variables were measured at turn-out and then at predetermined intervals for 22-24 weeks during the grazing season. The dewormed calves in group SP had a higher average weight gain at housing (range 0.39-0.61kg/day) than those in TST (0.36-0.50kg/day), which in turn always exceeded the NT group (0.23-0.42kg/day). This indicates that the parasite challenge in the NT group was sufficiently high to result in production loss. However, the average cumulative faecal egg counts (FEC) at housing in NT were in the range 1271-1953 eggs per gram faeces (epg) and in TST 1221-1968epg. In contrast, parasite eggs were rarely recorded in group SP and then only during the first two years (on average 12 and 38epg). There were also no significant differences in FEC or serum pepsinogen levels between FSG in groups NT and TST. The animals in SP received 7 doses of doramectin each year, whereas those in TST received an average of 0.5 doses. Thus, the TST approach represented a 92% reduction in anthelmintic use. The average weight gain in animals subjected to TST was always significantly lower than in animals dewormed regularly. In addition, there were no signs of short-term selection for anthelmintic resistance in the group SP animals, despite the fairly intensive use of injectable doramectin. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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Höglund, J., Dahlström, F., Sollenberg, S., & Hessle, A. (2013). Weight gain-based targeted selective treatments (TST) of gastrointestinal nematodes in first-season grazing cattle. Veterinary Parasitology, 196(3–4), 358–365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2013.03.028

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