Parasitism In Ruminant Production: Effects and Solutions

By: Michael Ephraim Vergara, DVM, Technical Services Associate  

    Heavy parasitic infection is said to be a major factor in the efficiency of ruminant production. They cause weight loss, low weight gain, poor breeding efficiency, low work capacity and mortalities, which all spell heavy losses.1

    Here in the Philippines, studies have been conducted and common internal parasites for small and large ruminants have been identified. In a published paper by Ducusin and Faylon (1996), helminthes or internal parasites of ruminants in the Philippines are divided into 1) Trematodes (flukes), 2) Cestodes (tapeworms), and 3) Nematodes (roundworms). From this paper, it was identified that 68 species of worms in ruminants have been identified (see table below).2

    Here in the Philippines, studies have been conducted and common internal parasites for small and large ruminants have been identified. In a published paper by Ducusin and Faylon (1996), helminthes or internal parasites of ruminants in the Philippines are divided into 1) Trematodes (flukes), 2) Cestodes (tapeworms), and 3) Nematodes (roundworms). From this paper, it was identified that 68 species of worms in ruminants have been identified (see table below).2

Table 1. Helminth parasites of ruminant animals in the Philippines (1986).

    Number  
Helminths Families Genera Species
1. Trematodes (flukes) 5 13 32
2. Cestodes (tapeworms) 1 1 2
3. Nematodes (roundworms) 12 20 34
Total 18 34 68
Source: Eduardo 1986      

 

    With parasitism in ruminants mainly appearing as gastrointestinal in nature, they are often classified as production disease which results in feed intake reduction and alteration of gastrointestinal motility leading to diarrhea. Parasites change the host metabolism accounting for much of the reduced protein and energy retention, and disturbed mineral and water balance. Therefore, the economic losses are attributed to low production, high cost of prevention and treatment, and death of infected animals.3

    As mentioned in the previous paragraph, high cost of prevention and treatment can make ruminants and even farmer suffer. But now, with the presence of many commercial anthelmintic products in the market, appropriate strategic and therapeutic anthelmintic can now be employed. Also, in the paper of Corwin (1997), he mentioned that – ‘Twenty years ago, anthelmintics in cattle were used to salvage clinically-sick animals. Today, they are used to maximize profit’.4

    In the Philippines, the internal parasites that are tagged as economically important are liver flukes (Fasciola sp), gastrointestinal worms (Trichostrongyloides sp), roundworms (Toxocara sp), threadworms (Strongyloides sp) and tapeworms (Monieza sp). Deworming program for different farms normally revolves in controlling these worms.

    Programs in deworming ruminants vary per farm and depending on the endemicity of parasites in the area. But some general recommendations on deworming for different groups of parasites have been published such as on the table below:

TYPE INTERVAL
1. Roundworms
  • Deworm calf at the age of 10-14 days.5
  • Deworm cattle before going to pasture especially the young animals at theend of summer and beginning of rainy season.5
  • First dose at 10 days. Monthly interval up to 6 months. Thrice a year.6
2. Liver Flukes
  • Twice a year in an endemic year. (before and after monsoon)6
3. Tapeworms
  • Twice a year.(Jan and June)6

    As for the most appropriate parasiticide for the deworming program in a farm, the tables below on the efficacies of major parasicitides can be considered:

Anthelmintic Roundworm Liver Fluke Tapeworms Mites Lice Warbles
Albendazole7 Good Some Some None None None
Fenbendazole7 Good None Some None None None
Ivermectin7 Excellent None None Good Good Excellent

 

Anthelmintic Roundworm Liver Fluke Tapeworms Mites Lice Warbles
Triclabendazole8 None Excellent None None None None
Rafoxanide8 Good Some None None None None

 

    Parasitism is a threat and addressing the problem is the key. Knowing the appropriate dewormers for the strategic deworming program and carefully planned husbandry practices are necessary for preventing losses in ruminant production caused by parasitism.

 

References:
1 http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=PH2009001307 
2 Ducusin, RJand Faylon, PS. 1996. Gastrointestinal helminths of small ruminants in the Philippines. ACIAR 
Proceedings No. 74. Bogor, Indonesia.
3 Rupa, APMandPortugaliza, HP. 2016. Prevalence and risk factors associated with
gastrointestinalnematode 
infection in goats raised in Baybay city, Leyte, Philippines. Vet World. 2016 Jul; 9(7): 728–734
4 Corwin, Robert m. 1997. Economics of gastrointestinal parasitism of cattle. Veterinary Parasitology. 72 (1997) 451-460
5 From the presentation of Mario T. Legaspi
,CattleProductionand Management, BAI - DA 
6 http://www.vetbook.in/deworming-ruminants.html 
7 Table adapted from: T. A. Yazwinski, C.Tuckerand H. Featherson. Cattle worms: their story and how
thecattle 
producer might try to control them. Proceedings of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, Cattlemen’s College. 1997.
8 http://parasitipedia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25...

 

 

Published by: plaridel
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