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Nematode parasites and faecal soiling of sheep in lairage: evidence of widespread potential production losses for the sheep industry

Jacobson, C.L., Bell, K. and Besier, R.B. (2009) Nematode parasites and faecal soiling of sheep in lairage: evidence of widespread potential production losses for the sheep industry. Animal Production Science, 49 (4). p. 326.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA08251
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Abstract

Diarrhoea (scouring) and subsequent faecal soiling of fleece are important economic and welfare issues for the sheep industry. Nematode worm infections are commonly implicated as a cause of scouring. This study aimed to investigate the extent of strongyle parasite infections, and identify any association with faecal worm egg count (WEC) and scouring in sheep from winter rainfall environments in Western Australia consigned to an abattoir. Faeces were collected from sheep with evidence of scouring and normal sheep (firm faecal pellets and no evidence of fresh diarrhoea on breech). A total of 4430 sheep from 113 lines of lambs (<12 months old), 10 lines of yearlings (12-24 months old) and 235 lines of adult sheep (>24 months old) were sampled between September and January. Mean WEC in lamb lines was 1525 eggs per gram (epg) of faeces with mean WEC >1000 epg in 42% of lines and >2000 in 22% of lines. Mean WEC in adult lines was 486 epg, with 13% lines having mean WEC >1000 epg. There was a trend (P = 0.099) to higher WEC in scouring lambs (2289 epg) compared with normal lambs (1523 epg). The scouring adult sheep had lower WEC (417 epg) compared with normal adults (482 epg, P = 0.021). The findings suggest that large strongyle infections were common in lambs consigned for slaughter. The low WEC in scouring adult sheep was consistent with the suggestion that a hypersensitivity to ingested nematode larvae, rather than large worm burdens, may be responsible for scouring in mature sheep.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2009 CSIRO
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7826
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