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Use of diagnostic markers to monitor fasciolosis and gastrointestinal nematodes on an organic dairy farm
  1. K. A. Ellis, BVMS, CertCHP, PhD, DipECBHM, MRCVS1,
  2. A. Jackson, BVMS, BSc, MRCVS1,
  3. R. Bexiga, DVM, DipECBHM1,
  4. J. Matthews, BVMS, MRCVS1,
  5. J. McGoldrick, BSc, ONCBiol, HNCBiol2,
  6. J. Gilleard, BVSc, PhD, DipEVPC, MRCVS3 and
  7. A. B. Forbes, BVM&S, CBiol, MSB, DipEVPH, PhD, MRCVS4
  1. Scottish Centre for Production Animal Health and Food Safety, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary and Life Sciences
  2. Veterinary Medicine Undergraduate School, University of Glasgow, Bearsden, Glasgow, G61 1QH, UK
  3. Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden, Glasgow, G61 1QH, UK
  4. Merial, 29 Avenue Tony Garnier, Lyon 69007, France
  1. E-mail for correspondence Kathryn.Ellis{at}
  • R Bexiga's present address is Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, 1300-477 Lisbon, Portugal

  • Dr Gilleard's present address is Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, G #359, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 4N1

A 12-month study was conducted to assess and monitor gastrointestinal tract nematodes and liver fluke in cohorts of cattle on a Scottish organic dairy farm. Various diagnostic markers for helminth parasites of cattle from different age groups were assessed monthly from April 2007 to March 2008. First season grazing stock were subjected to significant challenge from Ostertagia ostertagi nematodes as reflected in serum pepsinogen concentrations, which rose markedly in the second half of the grazing season. In addition, plasma albumin concentrations decreased and faecal egg counts (FEC) increased moderately, indicating exposure to both O ostertagi and probably Cooperia oncophora. Second season grazing animals had a peak FEC early in the grazing period, suggestive of a potential carry-over of Ostertagia species infection (‘Type 2’) during housing. All classes of cattle showed evidence of fluke (Fasciola hepatica) infection. Adult cow exposure to O ostertagi and fluke was estimated via the use of ELISA testing to detect antibodies to O ostertagi and F hepatica and the high levels detected suggested a significant exposure response. Despite low stocking densities and sympathetic grazing management, there was a significant challenge to all grazing stock from gastrointestinal nematodes and liver fluke.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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