Studies on the epidemiology of Dictyocaulus viviparus infections in Denmark have suggested that the adult lungworms present in calves around the sixth week after turnout play an important role in determining the subsequent pattern of disease. This trial was designed to test whether prophylactic treatment at this time would control disease in calves kept under British conditions. Thirty autumn-born Friesian or Friesian-cross bull calves were allowed to graze the whole of a 5 hectare field for six weeks after turnout. The field was then divided into two and the calves split into matching groups, one group being put into each of the paddocks. One group was treated with levamisole at this time and again two weeks later while the other was kept as an untreated control. Anthelmintic treatment resulted in a marked reduction in larval excretion and considerably delayed the build-up of infection on pasture. This in turn delayed the onset and reduced the severity of clinical signs in the treated group. However, as disease was not eliminated completely this prophylactic programme cannot be recommended to the British farmer in its present form. These findings are discussed in the context of the yet incomplete knowledge of the epidemiology of parasitic bronchitis.
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