Under experimental conditions, fenbendazole given at doses of 0.4 and 1.0 mg/kg body weight suppressed calves' faecal output of Ostertagia and Cooperia species eggs and Dictyocaulus viviparus larvae. Both dose levels were given in the form of small daily drenches and the higher level showed greater efficacy. In a grazing experiment, medication with fenbendazole at 1.0 mg/kg/day administered intermittently to calves using an automatic dose dispenser almost completely suppressed the output of trichostrongylid eggs. As a result, infection on the pasture and in the calves remained at a low level throughout the grazing season. By contrast, control pasture and control calves showed rather heavy infection from mid-August onwards with significantly lower weight gains and widespread signs of parasitic gastroenteritis. At post mortem examination of representative calves from each group in November, the medicated animals had 99 per cent less Ostertagia species, whether adults or larvae arrested at the early fourth stage, and 95 per cent less Cooperia species compared with controls. Medication in the drinking water suppressed the faecal output of D viviparus larvae for most of the grazing season by comparison with the controls but the medicated calves became infected with this parasite towards the end of the season. Until this problem is overcome, precautions against parasitic bronchitis are advised when this system of medication is adopted.
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