Demonstration of the sustained anthelmintic efficacy of a controlled-release capsule formulation of ivermectin in weaner lambs under field conditions in New Zealand

Demonstration of the sustained anthelmintic efficacy of a controlled-release capsule formulation of ivermectin in weaner lambs under field conditions in New Zealand
Peer reviewed

Abstract

Ten field trials were conducted in the North and South Islands of New Zealand to evaluate the anthelmintic efficacy and production responses attributable to treatment of weaner lambs with an intra-ruminal controlled-release capsule formulation of ivermectin. A total of 800 Coopworth, Perendale and Romney lambs weighing on average 20.8-34.8 kg were used. Lambs were either untreated or treated shortly after weaning with an ivermectin controlled-release capsule which delivers ivermectin at 0.8 mg per day for 100 days (minimum dose rate 20 µg/kg/day). Bodyweights, faecal nematode egg counts and dag scores (assessment of faecal soiling in the breech area) were determined before treatment and at about 4,8, 12, 14 and 16 weeks after treatment. Sheep treated with the Ivermectin capsule gained significantly more weight (11.6 kg) over the 16 weeks of the trials compared to untreated sheep (7.3 kg) (p < 0.01). Before treatment, faecal strongylid and Nematodirus spp. egg counts were equivalent (p > 0.10) but, at each time point thereafter, egg counts in ivermectin capsule-treated sheep were significantly lower (p < 0.01 or p < 0.05). Dag scores were not different at the start of the trial (p > 0.10), but at the end of the trial control sheep had significantly greater dags (p < 0.05) than sheep treated with the ivermectin capsule. These findings indicate that treated animals contributed significantly fewer nematode eggs to the contamination of pasture and therefore pasture contamination should be significantly reduced for at least 112 days. The productivity of the ivermectin capsule-treated sheep over the I6 weeks of the trials was also significantly increased compared to salvage-treated controls. Furthermore, the presence of dags, which predispose sheep to blowfly strike in the breech area and result in production losses due to the costs of dagging and downgrading of breech wool, were also significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in the ivermectin capsule-treated sheep.

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