The dynamics of ovine gastrointestinal nematode infections within ewe and lamb cohorts on three Scottish sheep farms

Kim Hamer, Jennifer McIntyre, Alison Morrison, Amy Jennings, Robert Kelly, Sarah Leeson, David Jon Bartley, Umer Chaudhry, Valentina Busin, Neil Sargison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) are a serious concern for sheep producers worldwide. However, there is a paucity of evidence describing the epidemiology of GIN on modern UK sheep farms. The aim of this paper was to understand whether expected seasonal variations of infection are still found in ewes and lambs under varying management strategies in temperate climates. Faecal egg counts (FEC) were conducted on freshly voided samples collected from groups of ewes and lambs every third week for twelve months on three farms in southeast Scotland. The patterns of egg output have been described here in relation to management practices undertaken on the farms. Despite changes in farming practice and climatic conditions, the findings complement historical studies detailing the epidemiology of GIN. Findings include a periparturient rise in ewe FEC on two of the farms, lambing time treatment appeared to suppress this on the third farm. On the same two farms lamb FEC increased during the summer, reaching a peak in the autumn. The work also highlights how the use of anthelmintics does little to impact these patterns unless used in suppressive regimes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Early online date25 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Sheep
  • gastro-intestinal nematodes
  • parasitic gastroenteritis
  • FEC
  • periparturient rise

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