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Principles for the use of macrocyclic lactones to minimise selection for resistance

Dobson, R.J., Besier, R.B., Barnes, E.H., Love, S.C.J., Vizard, A., Bell, K. and Le Jambre, L.F. (2001) Principles for the use of macrocyclic lactones to minimise selection for resistance. Australian Veterinary Journal, 79 (11). pp. 756-761.

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Objective To provide principles for the appropriate use of avermectin/milbemycin or macrocyclic lactone (ML) anthelmintics in sheep, to ensure effective worm control and to minimise selection for ML resistance.

Strategy The principles were based on an assessment of the information currently available. The MLs were categorised into three groups (ivermectin [IVM], abamectin [ABA] and moxidectin [MOX]) based on structural differences, persistence and efficacy against ML resistant strains. The reported order of activity or efficacy against ML resistant worm strains was IVM<ABA<MOX. General treatment schemes were considered for Australian conditions and were divided into the following situations: 1. quarantine treatment, 2. treatment on/to clean pasture, 3. treatment on/to safe pasture, 4. treatment on/to moderate/heavily contaminated pasture. For each of these situations a strategy was considered for farms where ML resistance was present or absent. It was assumed that resistance commonly occurs in some or all other broad spectrum anthelmintics, and even where ML resistance has been detected, the ML group remains the most effective. The guidelines provided are general and it is expected that state agencies and sheep/veterinary advisers would give specific advice to suit their environments and drug resistance/worm problems.

Conclusions The primary recommendation is to use a mixture of effective drugs when treating sheep. However, unless the combination treatment is highly effective it is unlikely to delay selection for ML resistance if sheep are being treated and moved to a clean or safe pasture. Where possible, reliance on the ML anthelmintics should be reduced by not using them every year, not using them in low risk stock or by using narrow spectrum and low efficacy drugs such as naphthalophos when appropriate. Anthelmintic treatment should be given as part of a strategic worm control program. It is suggested that IVM-oral and IVM-capsules should not be used when ML resistance is present. In this situation MOX or ABA should be used in combination with other drugs, provided that the chosen ML is effective against the resistant parasite. It is essential to monitor the efficacy of ML and drug combinations by post-treatment worm egg counts, particularly when ML resistance has been detected.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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