Hidden in plain sight - Multiple resistant species within a strongyle community

Jennifer McIntyre, Kim Hamer, Alison A Morrison, David J Bartley, Neil Sargison, Eileen Devaney, Roz Laing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ovine parasitic gastroenteritis is a complex disease routinely treated using anthelmintics. Although many different strongyle species may contribute to parasitic gastroenteritis, not all are equally pathogenic: in temperate regions, the primary pathogen is Teladorsagia circumcincta. In this study we investigated benzimidazole and ivermectin resistance on a commercial sheep farm in southeast Scotland. We assessed the impact of species diversity on the diagnosis of resistance using the faecal egg count reduction test and in vitro bioassays, and correlated the results with the frequency of benzimidazole resistance-associated genotypes measured in the T. circumcincta population by pyrosequencing of the β-tubulin isotype-1 gene. Faecal egg count reduction test results showed efficacies of 65% for albendazole and 77% for ivermectin, indicating moderate resistance levels on the farm. However, PCR speciation of the same populations pre- and post-treatment revealed that removal of susceptible species had masked the presence of a highly resistant population of T. circumcincta. Less than 25% of individuals in the pre-treatment populations were T. circumcincta, the remainder consisting of Cooperia curticei, Chabertia ovina, Oesophagostomum venulosum and Trichostrongylus spp. In contrast, post-treatment with albendazole or ivermectin, the majority (88% and 100% respectively) of the populations consisted of T. circumcincta. The egg hatch test for benzimidazole resistance and the larval development test for ivermectin resistance were carried out using eggs obtained from the same populations and the results were broadly consistent with the faecal egg count reduction test. Thirty individual T. circumcincta from each sampling time point were assessed for benzimidazole resistance by pyrosequencing, revealing a high frequency and diversity of resistance-associated mutations, including within the population sampled post-ivermectin treatment. These results highlight the potential diversity of parasite species present on UK farms, and their importance in the diagnosis of anthelmintic resistance. On this particular farm, we demonstrate the presence of a highly dual-resistant population of T. circumcincta, which was strongly selected by treatment with either benzimidazoles or ivermectin, while other potentially less pathogenic species were removed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Early online date11 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jul 2018


  • Benzimidazole
  • Ivermectin
  • Resistance
  • Teladorsagia;
  • Diversity
  • In vitro assays
  • Pyrosequencing


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