Faecal soiling and gastrointestinal helminth infection in lambs

  • Broughan J
  • Wall R
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The accumulation of faeces in the wool of the breech area (tail, perineum and anus) of lambs, known as faecal soiling, has been shown to be one of the major factors predisposing sheep to blowfly strike. However, the causes of faecal soiling of lambs in the UK are not clearly understood. Hence, in this investigation, the relationships between faecal soiling, gastrointestinal parasitic nematode infection and resultant diarrhoea were examined in a longitudinal study of 200 lambs at two farms in south-west England. Faecal egg counts, pasture worm burdens, faecal soiling and growth rates were recorded for individually tagged lambs over the summer of 2003. Grass growth and nutritional composition (protein and fibre) and weather data were also recorded over this period. Analysis using linear mixed models showed that faecal soiling was associated with higher strongyle-type egg counts, longer periods since worming, lower live-weights, female gender, lower faecal consistency and pasture quality. The data indicate that dag scoring, especially in mid- to late summer, could be used as a rapid, non-invasive technique for selecting animals, particularly lambs, with high faecal egg counts for selective drenching to reduce the incidence of anthelmintic resistance. Selective drenching of lambs with high dag scores would also be expected to aid in the control of blowfly strike. © 2007 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Blowfly strike
  • England
  • Faecal soiling
  • Gastrointestinal nematodes
  • Lambs

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  • Jennifer M. Broughan

  • Richard Wall

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