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Cattle are major hosts of Cryptosporidium (Santín and Trout 2008). Cryptosporidiosis in neonatal calves is associated with weight loss and mortality, as well as with zoonotic infections in humans (de Graaf and others 1999). Although many chemotherapeutic antimicrobial compounds have been tested, there is no clearly effective compound currently available in cattle. Lasalocid is an ionophorous antibiotic and an antiprotozoal agent for the prevention of coccidiosis. It disrupts parasite membrane potential and stimulates ATPase activity in mitochondria (Schwingel and others 1989).
In Cryptosporidium research, there have been some reports that lasalocid shows efficiency in vitro and in experimental animals (Leitch and He 1994, Giacometti and others 2000); however, few studies have examined the effectiveness of lasalocid against cryptosporidiosis in calves. There are several reasons for this: first, lasalocid can be acutely toxic to hosts depending on the dose used (Galitzer and others 1986); second, at non-toxic doses, no clear effect of lasalocid has been demonstrated in calves with symptoms of severe diarrhoea caused by cryptosporidiosis; and third, the use of cattle in experimental infections can be problematic. In previous studies, the anti-cryptosporidial activity of lasalocid was assessed from a treatment viewpoint in dairy calves infected with Cryptosporidium. In contrast, few preventive effects studies have been conducted.
To assess the preventive effects in lasalocid, here calves were given lasalocid-Na (3 mg/kg) once daily from birth to seven days of age. During this dosing period, a significant difference was found in the positive …