A study of helminth parasites in culled cows from Ireland
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and intensity of gastrointestinal nematode, lungworm and liver fluke infection in culled cows in Ireland. Abomasa, colorectal contents and livers were collected from 30 to 68 culled beef and dairy cows during autumn 2002 and summer 2003, respectively. Ostertagia ostertagi were found in the abomasa of only three (10%) cows sampled in autumn and in 38 (57%) cows examined in summer. The majority of positive animals had low burdens of O. ostertagi but a few individuals in the group sampled during the summer had a moderate infection (5000-10,000 adult worms). A proportion of the cows in the summer group were also co-infected with small numbers of Trichostrongylus axei. Cooperia oncophora predominated in the recoveries from the larval cultures although O. ostertagi were also recovered. The overall prevalence of Dictyocaulus viviparus was 14%, based on larval identification in faecal samples. Liver fluke, or varying degrees of pathology attributable to Fasciola hepatica, were present in 65% of the livers. The results of this study extend those of previous workers, which were largely limited to dairy cows alone and which focussed on gastrointestinal nematodes and did not include simultaneous infections with lungworm and liver fluke. It was concluded, from the level of polyparasitism evident in this study, that adult cattle should be considered in preventative approaches to bovine helminthosis.
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