[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence and variation of natural gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infections in lambs according to birth type, gender and breed based on individual faecal egg counts (FEC) from various regions in Germany. A total of 3,924 lambs (3 to 15 months old) with different genetic backgrounds (Merinoland, German Blackhead Mutton, Rhoen, Texel and Merino long-wool) were individually sampled during the grazing period between 2006 and 2008. Furthermore, pooled faecal samples from each of the farms were cultured in order to differentiate the third-stage larvae of the nematode spp. Sixty-three percent of the lambs were infected with GIN. The infections were mostly low to moderate and involved several nematode species. The Trichostrongylus spp. was the predominant species based on the percentage of larvae in faecal cultures. Only 11.4% of the lambs were free of Eimeria oocysts. Tapeworm eggs were encountered in 13.2% of all samples. The prevalence of GIN infections varied significantly (P < 0.001) among farms. A significantly higher FEC (P < 0.05) was observed in multiple-born lambs when compared with singletons. Moreover, male lambs were more susceptible to infection than females (P < 0.001). No significant differences (P > 0.05) were observed between breeds regarding FEC. Inter-individual variations were higher than inter-breed differences, which may indicate the possibility of selection within these breeds for parasites resistance as described in earlier studies.
Parasitology Research 10/2011; 110(4):1453-9. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether a precise and repeatable quantification of Heterakis gallinarum egg excretion, which considerably reflects the actual worm burdens, can be achieved based on collection of the daily total amount of faeces from chickens. Three-week-old birds (N=64) were infected with 200 embryonated eggs of H. gallinarum, and placed into individual cages 3 wk after infection for 5 wk to collect daily faeces (N=2240). The total daily faeces was mixed and a randomly taken sample per bird was analyzed to estimate the numbers of eggs per gram of faeces (EPG) and total number of eggs excreted within 24h (EPD). A total of 235 daily faecal collections were randomly selected and further examined to determine between and within sample variations of EPG counts as a measure of precision. For this, two random faecal samples were taken from the daily produced faeces by a bird, and the EPG was determined for each of the samples (EPG1 and EPG2). The second faecal sample was analyzed once more to determine a parallel EPG2 count (EPG2a) of the suspended sample. Precision of an EPG count was defined as its relative closeness to the average of two EPG counts using a relative asymmetry index (Index(EPG)). At an age of 11 wk, i.e. 8 wk p.i. the birds were slaughtered and their worm burdens were determined. There were no significant differences between EPG1 and EPG2 (P=0.764) nor between EPG2 and EPG2a (P=0.700), suggesting that the differences between or within the samples were not different from zero. Correlations between EPG counts, as between and within sample coherences, were r=0.85 and r=0.86, respectively. Precision of EPG counts, as measured by Index(EPG), was not influenced by consistency (P=0.870) and total amount of faeces (P=0.088). However, concentration of eggs in faeces (mean EPG) had a significant effect on the precision of the EPG counts (P<0.001). Similar results were also observed for the within sample precision (Index(EPG2)). A segmented regression analysis indicated an abrupt change in the precision of EPG counts as the response to changing egg concentration in the examined faecal samples. The precision of analyses remarkably heightened up to a breakpoint with an EPG count of ≤ 617. A similar breakpoint was also determined for within sample precision (EPG2 ≤ 621). Moderate repeatabilities (R=0.49) for EPG and EPD were estimated in the first week of egg excretion, whereas the estimates were higher (R=0.67-0.84) in the following weeks. Correlations between number of female worms with daily measured EPG and EPD increased to an almost constant level (r ≥ 0.70; P<0.05) in a few days after the nematode excreted eggs and predominantly remained so for the rest of the sampling period. It is concluded that mixing daily total faeces provides samples with random homogenous distribution of H. gallinarum eggs. Precision of the EPG counts increases as the egg concentration in faecal sample increases. Egg excretion of H. gallinarum, quantified either as EPG or EPD, is highly repeatable and closely correlated with the actual worm burden of birds starting as early as in 5 th wk of infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship among parasitological parameters, abomasal size and body size measurements was investigated in lambs following an experimental infection with Haemonchus contortus. In total, 100 lambs from five different genotypes (German Merino (GM), Texel × GM, Suffolk × GM, German Blackhead Mutton × GM and Ile de France × GM) were experimentally infected with 5000 infective third stage larvae of H. contortus at the time of weaning at 12 weeks of age. Four and six weeks after infection, individual faecal samples were collected for estimation of faecal egg counts (FECs). Furthermore, wither height, shoulder width, heart girth, loin girth and body length were taken at 18 weeks of life. Lambs were slaughtered and necropsied 7 weeks post-infection, and worm counts, abomasal volume and surface area were determined. Positive correlations were found between different body size parameters, body weight and abomasal sizes. FEC and worm counts were not significantly correlated either with body size parameters or with abomasal size. The mean worm burden was higher in GM than in crossbred lambs. There was no significant difference in abomasal size between GM and crossbred lambs. The results suggest that the variations between animals in worm burden following an experimental infection with H. contortus (worm resistance) are not influenced by body size parameters or abomasal sizes. Therefore, other factors, including genetic-based differences in resistance, must cause these findings between and within breeds.