A postal survey of worming practices on West Country dairy farms was undertaken and farmers were requested to send faecal samples for nematode egg counts. The majority of the farmers who responded had a nematode control policy which was based on a mixture of anthelmintics and pasture rotation. Sixty-five per cent tumed out calves on to the same paddock each year and 57 per cent treated their stock with anthelmintics during the second year. Ninety farms submitted samples for analysis but only 16 samples contained sufficient eggs to justify repeat egg counts and only eight of these produced enough eggs for in vitro tests. The small number of positive samples, even into the latter part of the year suggests a heavy use of anthelmintics with relatively clean pasture. One Somerset farm had larvae which developed in high concentrations of ivermectin, and eggs were still being passed after two treatments with ivermectin at the manufacturer's recommended dose seven days apart. Of 100 male nematodes isolated from two of the calves, 88 were Cooperia species and 12 were Nematodirus species. A controlled trial with this isolate in eight Friesian male calves showed a 44 per cent reduction in egg counts at day 7 but no significant reduction in worm burden postmortem. This is the first reported case of ivermectin-resistant Cooperia species in cattle in the United Kingdom.
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