An evaluation of anthelmintic properties , assessed using faecal nematode egg counts, of New Zealand native flax ( Phormium tenax )

An evaluation of anthelmintic properties , assessed using faecal nematode egg counts, of New Zealand native flax ( Phormium tenax )
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To investigate the anthelmintic properties of New Zealand native flax (Phormium tenax) for cattle, using a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT).
METHODS: Twenty-six heifer calves with high (>300 epg) faecal nematode egg counts (FEC) were paired into two groups and fed either chopped flax leaves ad libitum, or barley straw at an equivalent dry matter (DM) rate, from Day 0–7; all were supplemented with 1.5 kg/head/day cereal feed supplement. On Days 8–10, all heifers were fed a common diet of 3.5 kg DM/ head/day barley straw and 1.5 kg/head/day cereal feed supplement. Heifers were weighed and faecal samples were collected on Days –6, 0, 7, and 10; samples were analysed in triplicate for FEC. The nutritive value of the flax and straw was analysed.
RESULTS: Both the flax and straw had low dry matter digestibility (DMD) and protein content. Although the flax-fed claves grew more than the controls, this may have been related to gut fill. Total daily faecal egg output was similar for flax and straw groups on Day 7 (14.7 vs 15.0 x106 eggs/day, respectively) and Day 10 (14.9 vs 15.1 x106 eggs/day, respectively). There was no difference in the change in FEC with time between the calves fed flax or straw diets.
CONCLUSION: Consumption of flax leaves did not reduce FEC in calves with a mixed nematode infection.
KEY WORDS: Phormium tenax, New Zealand native flax, anthelmintic, anti-parasitic, faecal nematode egg counts, faecal egg count reduction test, helminths, nematode, gastrointestinal parasites, Cooperia, Ostertagia, Trichostrongylus, Haemonchus

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