Effect of strategic treatments with invermectin on parasitism of set-stocked calves exposed to natural trichostrongyle infection in Lithuania.
ABSTRACT The effect of strategic treatments with ivermectin in first-season calves exposed to trichostrongyle nematodes on naturally contaminated pasture was studied. Twenty first season heifer calves were divided into 2 groups, according to live weight, and on 22nd May each group was turned out onto a 1 hectare pasture. Group A (Plot A) was treated with ivermectin at weeks 3, 8 and 13 after turn out, while group B (Plot B) served as an untreated control group. The study showed that control calves exhibited increase in trichostrongyle egg counts in August, while treated calves were excreting low numbers of trichostrongyle eggs. Pasture larval counts on Plot B (control animals) were low during the first part of the grazing season, followed by a steep rise towards the end of July. In contrast, the numbers of infective larvae recovered from Plot A remained low throughout the season. Both groups showed comparable weight gains from May up to the middle of July. However, from then on, Group B (controls) had lower weight gains than ivermectin treated Group A. From the end of July onwards, most untreated calves (Group B) showed clinical signs of parasitic gastroenteritis. It can be concluded that the strategical ivermectin treatments were successful, and faecal egg counts, pepsinogen levels and herbage larval counts clearly demonstrated that this was accomplished through suppression of pasture contamination with nematode eggs and subsequent reduction of pasture infectivity.