Two groups of yearling cattle which had been treated with ivermectin either three and eight, or three, eight and 13 weeks after turn out to trichostrongyle contaminated pasture in their first grazing season were exposed in the following season to natural challenge with helminth parasites. To assess their immunity to this challenge each group shared a pasture with parasite naive first season calves. No anthelmintic treatments were administered at any time during the year. Throughout the grazing period the yearlings showed normal respiratory rates, negative faecal lungworm larval counts, and, relative to the calves, low faecal trichostrongyle egg counts. All the first season calves developed patent lungworm infections and on one occasion the mean respiratory rates of each group of calves were significantly greater than those of the yearling cattle. At the end of the grazing period, from early May until late September or October 1986, the cattle were removed from pasture and together with parasite naive controls challenged with either 10 or 22 third stage larvae of Dictyocaulus viviparus/kg bodyweight and necropsied between 18 and 23 days later. Although the experimental challenge resulted in relatively heavy lungworm infection of the naive controls, none of the yearlings and only three of the 11 calves which had been at pasture were found to be infected. However, large numbers of arrested fourth stage larvae of Ostertagia ostertagi were present in all the naturally infected yearlings and calves.
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