The efficacy of halofuginone lactate in the prevention of cryptosporidiosis in suckling calves was evaluated in a multicentre, control versus placebo, randomised, double.blind clinical trial. Seventy-eight six- to 48- hour-old calves were treated daily with 120 μg/kg bodyweight of halofuginone lactate administered orally for seven consecutive days, while 80 calves received a placebo. Faecal samples were collected on the first day of dosing and four, seven, 14 and 21 days later, and Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts were counted and faecal indices for diarrhoea were determined after a clinical examination. An analysis of variance for repeated measurements showed a highly significant difference in favour of halofuginone lactate for both the oocyst counts (P=0.0002) and the faecal diarrhoea indices (P=0.0001) throughout the trial. The difference was greatest after seven days, when the mean oocyst count of the placebo group was 2.5 times and its mean faecal index was twice the mean of the halofuginone lactate group. One day after the end of the treatment the calves which received halofuginone lactate excreted 44 per cent fewer C parvum oocysts and 44 per cent fewer of them had diarrhoea. The reduction was even greater (65 per cent) when liquid diarrhoea was assessed, with 32.5 per cent of the calves in the placebo group having liquid diarrhoea compared with 11.5 per cent in the halofuginone lactate group. The treatment was well tolerated and easily administered.
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