Article Text

A putative role for larval nematode infection in diarrhoeas of lambs which did not respond to anthelmintic drenches
  1. N Suttle and
  2. J Brebner
  1. Moredun Research Institute, Edinburg.

Abstract

Attempts to control a summer diarrhoea in grazing Finnish landrace lambs which had been unresponsive to anthelmintics and coccidiostats were made by supplementing them with cupric oxide particles and withdrawing a magnesium-rich mineral, while maintaining parasite control measures. The diarrhoea persisted from July to September and plasma pepsinogen activities were raised, suggesting that the anthelmintic did not prevent abomasal damage; the jejunum of an affected lamb showed lesions of parasitic gastroenteritis. Small responses to cupric oxide particles and larger responses to the withdrawal of magnesium were deceptive, possibly being confounded by differences in parasite challenge. In another experiment Finnish landrace lambs were more susceptible to diarrhoea than Suffolk cross lambs in autumn. The susceptibility was then linked to a strong inhibition of worm egg output and may have been caused by a hypersensitive mucosal response to the larval challenge. Plasma pepsinogen concentrations were again raised in the Finnish landrace lambs and did not decline after treatment with anthelmintic, whereas the concentrations increased later in the Suffolk cross lambs, and were apparently responsive to anthelmintic. The cases of diarrhoea were similar to 'July disease' and may have been caused by continuous nematode infections which were only briefly controlled by drenches. Anthelmintic-unresponsive diarrhoea is the term proposed for the disorder, which may be controllable by devices releasing anthelmintic continuously or by a move to less infected pasture. Faecal egg counts remained low in the condition and were diagnostically misleading.

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