Observations of feed intake, digestibility, production and selected blood values were made during the winter housing period on 10 lactating dairy cows, naturally infected with gastrointestinal roundworms, which were either left untreated or dosed on two occasions with thiabendazole in-feed. While treatment had no significant effect on appetite or production, there was a 9.8 per cent improvement in cellulose digestibility (P less than 0.05). An increase in circulating cholesterol in treated cows was associated with the improved utilisation of cellulose. It is considered unlikely that thiabendazole's primary anthelmintic activity was responsible for this effect. Treated cattle also exhibited a significant improvement in thyroid function during the course of the study compared with control animals. This might account for the increase in milk production reported in several trials following anthelmintic treatment of dairy cows.
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