Prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp in calves from a region in New Zealand experiencing intensification of dairying
New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 15-20, Feb 2008
Article class: Scientific Article
Subject Terms: Alimentary system/gastroenterology, Animal production/wastage, Biosecurity, Diagnostic procedures, Diet/rations/food, Disease surveillance, Epidemiology, Farm/farm management, Grazing, Infectious disease, Management, Nutrition/metabolism, Parasites - internal, Pasture/crop, Protozoa, Public health, ZoonosisTaylor and Francis
AbstractAIM: To investigate the prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp in calves born during two spring-calving seasons in a rapidly intensifying dairying region in the South Island; to evaluate potential correlations between the prevalence of the organism and age, characteristics of faeces, and animal-housing practices; and to compare the results with those from established dairying regions in the North Island.
METHODS: A longitudinal study was conducted in 2005 and 2006 on 10 dairy farms located in the Otago region, South Island, New Zealand. A total of 1,190 faecal samples were collected from calves 17 weeks old. Direct immunofluorescent microscopy was used to screen the faecal samples for Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. The prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp detected in calves in Otago was compared with that previously measured in calves from dairying regions in the Waikato and Manawatu, in the North Island .
RESULTS: On average, Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp were detected in 31% and 2.6% of all samples, respectively. The prevalence of Giardia spp cysts in faeces was higher in calves ≥3 weeks of age in 2005 (p≤0.02) and in calves ≥2 weeks of age in 2006 (p=0.07) than in younger calves. No age-related pattern was observed for Cryptosporidium spp in either year. No correlations were evident between characteristics of faeces or animal housing practices and the prevalence of either organism, which did not differ between the two dairy farming regions.
CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence rates of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp in calves 17 weeks old did not differ between the two geographical regions, nor did the regions distinct climate conditions appear to influence the prevalence of either pathogen. Considering data from both years together, the presence of Giardia spp cysts in faeces appeared to increase in the first week or two after birth, so that, on average, 3040% of animals from 36 weeks of age were affected.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This is the first study to report the prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp in dairy calves in the South Island of New Zealand.
KEY WORDS: Giardia, Cryptosporidium, cattle, dairy farming Intensification
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