Managing Internal Parasites  ATTRA in Sheep and Goats   A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Informat...
grow beyond what the animal can tolerate.                                                                                 ...
Loss of condition and rough hair coat indicate parasitism.                    Bottle jaw is a sign of parasitism.Photo cou...
Overview of Available Dewormers for Sheep and Goats  Several types of dewormers are available for use in sheep and goats. ...
more animals you have on one pasture, the                                                      more densely the worms are ...
FAMACHA© System Saves Money and Reduces Stress  On Maple Gorge Farm, in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, busy schedules pre-  vent...
Smart Drenching  Smart Drenching refers to the ways producers can use dewormers (drenches) more selectively and effectively...
Other Resources                                                HA%20response%20to%20requests%20from%20producSouthern Conso...
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Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats

  1. 1. Managing Internal Parasites ATTRA in Sheep and Goats A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Margo Hale Internal parasite management, especially of Haemonchus contortus (barberpole worm, stomach worm),NCAT Agriculture is a primary concern for the majority of sheep and goat producers. These parasites have become moreSpecialist difficult to manage because of developed resistance to nearly all available dewormers. This publication© NCAT 2006 discusses new techniques to manage parasites and to prolong the efficacy of dewormers. New manage- ment tools that remain under investigation are also discussed. A list of resources follows the narrative.ContentsIntroduction ..................... 1Parasite Primer ................ 2Parasitism .......................... 2Resistance toDewormers ....................... 3Pasture Management ... 4New Techniques ............. 5Other Techniques........... 6Conclusion ........................ 7Resources .......................... 7References ........................ 8 Owners of this Katahdin ewe and her lambs are able to manage internal parasites using sustainable techniques. NCAT photo by Margo Hale. Introduction reduced animal weight gains, and even animal death. The management of internal parasites, primarily Haemonchus contortus (barber- These parasites are diffi cult to manage pole worm), is considered by many to be because on some farms they have devel-ATTRA—National Sustainable the biggest production concern for small oped resistance to all available commer-Agriculture Information Serviceis managed by the National Cen- ruminants. “There are many important cial dewormers. (Zajac, Gipson, 2000)ter for Appropriate Technology diseases of sheep and goats,” notes Uni- Resistance to dewormers is now seen(NCAT) and is funded under agrant from the United States versity of Georgia researcher Ray Kaplan, worldwide (Kaplan, 2004b). ProducersDepartment of Agriculture’s DVM, PhD, “but none are as ubiquitous can no longer rely on drugs alone to con-Rural Business-Cooperative Ser-vice. Visit the NCAT Web site or present as direct a threat to the health trol internal parasites. Rather, an inte-( of goats as internal parasites.” (Kaplan, grated approach that relies on sustain-html) for more informa-tion on our sustainable 2004a). The cost of internal parasite able methods to manage internal parasitesagriculture projects. infection includes treatment expense, should be employed.
  2. 2. grow beyond what the animal can tolerate. In order to manage internal parasites, it is important to understand the parasite cycle and factors that encourage their production. Parasitism Animals raised in confi nement or on pas- ture-based systems will almost certainly be exposed to internal parasites at some point in their lives. Dry environments, such as arid rangelands, will pose less of a threat for parasite infections. Warm, humid cli- mates are ideal for worms, and therefore animals will have more problems with inter-Most animals in a flock are not visibly affected by parasites and do not need to be nal parasites in these climates.treated with dewormers. Photo by Linda Coffey. Sheep and goats should be managed so that parasitism is not evident. Sheep and goats Parasite Primer will always host some level of parasite bur- Internal parasites (worms) exist by feeding den. Certain signs of parasitism are seen off of their host. Some types do this directly, when the parasite load becomes excessive by attaching to the wall of the digestive sys- or when the animal’s immunity can no lon- tem and feeding on the host’s blood. These ger overcome the adverse effects of the par- types of parasites cause anemia in the host, asitism. (Scarfe, 1993) Young animals and as well as other symptoms. Haemonchus those with weakened immune systems due contortus (barberpole worm) is one exam- to other diseases are most affected by inter- ple of this type. Others live off the nutrients nal parasitism. A combination of treatment eaten by the host; these cause weight loss and management is necessary to control but not anemia. parasitism so that it will not cause economic loss to the producer. (Scarfe, 1993) Mature parasites breed inside the host and “lay eggs,” which pass through the While it is ideal to manage animals so there host and are shed in the feces. After the are no visible effects of parasitism, some eggs pass out of the host, they hatch into will nonetheless succumb to the burden of larvae. Warm, humid conditions encour- internal parasites. Learn to recognize the age hatching. The larvae need moisture to signs of internal parasite infections and develop and move. They migrate out of the offer early treatment. feces and up blades of grass (usually 1 to 2 inches). When an animal Internal parasite numbers: (sheep or goat) grazes, they may take in parasite larvae • Increase with number of host animals along with the grass blade. • Increase during warm, humid An animal can also pick up weather parasite larvae by eating • Increase when pastures are grazed from a feed trough that is too short contaminated by manure. • Decrease during hot, dry weather Parasite numbers increase • Decrease if a non-host animal (cattle over time when conditions or horses) graze the same pasture are favorable (warm, wet). • Decrease with pasture rest time, as Internal parasites get out Due to lowered immunity, young stock and pregnant the larvae naturally die off of control and cause dam- or lactating animals are more likely to be affected by age when their numbers internal parasites. Photo by Linda Coffey.Page 2 ATTRA Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats
  3. 3. Loss of condition and rough hair coat indicate parasitism. Bottle jaw is a sign of parasitism.Photo courtesy of Jean-Marie Luginbuhl. Photo courtesy of Jean-Marie Luginbuhl. numbers lowered for a period of time. How- Signs of Parasitism ever, this method will also eventually lead • Loss of condition to resistance to the anthelminthics(s) used much more rapidly than if other strategies • Rough hair coat of control are utilized. One point to con- • Scours, diarrhea sider here is alternating the use of differ- • Bottle jaw ent drugs. • Pale mucous membranes (eyelids, gums), It is considered by this author, and sev- indicating anemia eral expert parasitologists, that rapid rota- tion of different drugs is ill-advised as this • Death will lead to resistance of multiple drugs – something that the small ruminant indus-Resistance to Dewormers tries certainly do not need. (Scarfe, 1993)Producers were once instructed to deworm Scarfe recognized the unsustainable prac-all of their animals every three to six tices that were being used long before para-months. Many producers dewormed even sites were resistant to dewormers in the U.S.more often, as often as every four weeks in Some farms still have dewormers thathumid climates. It is now known that this continue to work, while others have nopractice is not sustainable. effective dewormers. This is a problemDrug resistance is the ability of worms in a because no new dewormersc for sheep andpopulation to survive drug treatments that goats are currently under development.are generally effective against the same spe- (Kaplan, 2004b)cies and stage of infection at the same doserate. (Kaplan, 2004b) Over-use of deworm- Development of Resistanceers has led to resistance, and available to Dewormersdewormers are now ineffective. In an arti- Internal parasites, especially H. contortus,cle from 1993, David Scarfe predicted the have developed drug resistance. Drug treat-development of drug resistance. ment gets rid of the worms that are suscep- Suppressive deworming is probably the tible to that particular drug; resistant para- most effective means of keeping parasite sites survive and pass on “resistant” ATTRA Page 3
  4. 4. Overview of Available Dewormers for Sheep and Goats Several types of dewormers are available for use in sheep and goats. Many are not approved for use in sheep and goats, how- ever, so work with a veterinarian to ensure proper “off-label” use. The different classes of dewormers have different modes to kill worms. The level of resistance depends on the class of dewormer and how often the drug was used on a particular farm. Drug Class Common Names/ Brands Effectiveness Albendazole (Valbazen®), Benzimidazoles High prevalence of resistance Fenbendazole (Safeguard®) Ivermectin (Ivomec®) Ivermectin— least effective of all available drugs Avermectin/ Milbemycins Moxidectin Moxidectin—resistance becoming (Cydectin®) common where used frequently Levamisole (Tramisol®), Imidazothiazoles/ Low to moderate prevalence of Pyrantel (Strongid®), Tetrahydropyrimidine resistance Morantel (Rumatel®) Worms that are not treated are called dewormer. Frequent deworming increases “refugia.” The concept of refugia has been the rate resistance develops. largely overlooked in the past. Having some Each time animals are dewormed, the sus- worms in refugia (not treated) insures that ceptible worms are killed. The strong ones a level of genes remain sensitive to deworm-Related ATTRA survive and lead to a population of veryPublications ers. (Kaplan, n.d.) A surviving population of untreated worms dilutes the frequency resistant worms. Underdosing causes largerIntegrated Parasite of resistant genes. Consequently, when a numbers of stronger worms to survive. TheManagement dewormer is required, it will be effective weakest, most susceptible worms are killed.for Livestock But because of the weak dose, more of the because the worms will be susceptible toGoats: Sustainable treatment. (Kaplan, n.d.) stronger worms will be able to survive andProduction Overview reproduce, creating a population of strongerMeat Goats: When fewer numbers of animals receive worms. Once an animal has been treated,Sustainable treatment, the refugia population remains only resistant worms remain. If the animalsProduction large. The more refugia, the better. Sustain- are moved to a clean pasture they depositDairy Goats: able techniques, such as FAMACHA©, fight only resistant worms on the pasture. ThereSustainable drug resistance by increasing refugia. are no susceptible worms to dilute the wormProduction In contrast, several practices accelerate population. Treating all animals regardlessSustainable drug resistance. They include frequent of need ignores the importance of refugiaSheep Production deworming (more than three times a year), and will lead, in time, to a population ofDairy Sheep underdosing (often caused by miscalcula- worms unkillable by dewormers. tion of body weight), treating and movingSmall RuminantSustainability to clean pasture, and treating all animals, Pasture ManagementChecksheet regardless of need. These practices lead Numerous techniques can be used to con- to resistance because they decrease the trol parasitism. Pasture management should number of worms susceptible to deworm- be a primary tool to control internal para- ers (refugia). sites. Sheep and goats ingest infective para- Since no dewormer is 100 percent effective site larvae from pasture. The rate at which 100 percent of the time, worms that sur- they are ingested can be controlled through vive a dose of dewormer are resistant to that pasture management.Page 4 ATTRA Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats
  5. 5. more animals you have on one pasture, the more densely the worms are deposited. Ani- mals on densely stocked pastures are more likely to have parasite problems. Grazing sheep and goats with cattle, or in a rota- tion with cattle, can also reduce internal parasite problems. Cattle do not share the same internal parasites as sheep and goats. Cattle consume sheep and goat parasite lar- vae, which helps “clean” the pasture for the small ruminants. Certain forages have also been shown toEating higher off the ground reduces the number ofparasite larvae consumed. Photo by Margo Hale. control parasite problems. Tannin-rich for- ages, such as sericea lespedeza, have been shown to help reduce internal parasite eggMost worm larvae crawl up the plant only counts. (Min and Hart, 2003; Shaik etone to two inches from the ground. Pre- al., 2004) Other plants, including plan-venting animals from grazing below that tain, chicory, and wormwood, also have anpoint decreases the number of worm lar- anthelmintic effect, although wormwoodvae ingested. Animals that eat closer to the also produces toxicground tend to have more problems with compounds. Provid-internal parasites. It is important to moni- ing tannin-rich foragestor animals and the pasture. Allowing ani- and diverse pasturesmals to graze pastures too short results in can help animals bat-more parasites consumed and reduced feed tle internal parasites.intake, therefore harming the animal in twoways. It also inhibits pasture regrowth. NewLarvae migrate no more than 12 inches Techniquesfrom a manure pile. Livestock not forcedto eat close to their own manure will con- FAMACHA©sume fewer larvae. Providing areas whereanimals can browse (eat brush, small trees, FAMACHA© is a sys- High levels of tannins in forages such as sericea lespedeza reduce worm burdens. Photo courtesy ofetc.) and eat higher off of the ground helps tem for classifying ani- Jean-Marie control parasite problems. mals into categories based upon level ofDecreasing the stocking rate decreases the anemia. (Kaplan, n.d.) It was developed innumber of worms spread on a pasture. The South Africa and has been validated in the U.S. (Kaplan et al, 2004) This system identifies anemic animals on a 1 to 5 scale by examining the eyelids of sheep and goats (see photo next page). The system treats only animals that are ane- mic (a sign of parasitism). This reduces the use of dewormers, slows the devel- opment of resistant worms, and saves the producer money. Most importantly, it also allows the producer to select animals that are healthier. By breeding the healthiest animals and culling the weaker individuals,Sheep grazing at Maple Gorge Farm in Prairie Grove, the flock or herd becomes stronger overArkansas. Photo by Margo Hale. time. FAMACHA© is only effective ATTRA Page 5
  6. 6. FAMACHA© System Saves Money and Reduces Stress On Maple Gorge Farm, in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, busy schedules pre- vented the farmers from monitoring parasites. By late summer, the sheep had been grazing for months with no treatment. The farmers noticed a young lamb with bottle jaw and feared they had a huge problem on their hands. They considered not bringing the animals in for treatment because they were low on dewormer. They knew they wouldn’t have enough to treat all of the animals. Then they remembered the FAMACHA© system that they had recently been trained in. Using the FAMACHA© system, they decided to sort off, identify and treat only the 4s and 5s (anemic animals), and a few 3s that were thin. To their surprise, only 9 of the 65 sheep actually needed treatment. Identification numbers and FAMACHA© scores were recorded. They decided any ewe scoring a 4 or 5 would not be kept in the flock. This whole process took less than an hour. Treating only the animals in need reduced stress for the animals and farmers, and also saved money. After using the FAMACHA© system and seeing how easy it was and the impact it had on their flock, the farmers at Maple Gorge Farm are believers in the system. Demonstration of the FAMACHA© technique. Photo by Margo Hale. the treatment of H. contortus. Producers parasite-resistant animals will decrease the must be trained by a veterinarian or other need for dewormers. trained animal health professional in order to use FAMACHA©. (Kaplan, n.d.) However, Within any breed, certain animals are this technique is simple to learn and quick more tolerant of parasite loads than and easy to use. For more information on others. These resilient animals can host FAMACHA©, see Other Resources, page 8. a large parasite burden, yet show few signs of parasitism. Some animals will carry a heavier parasite load than others. Other Techniques Research shows that 20 to 30 percent of Selecting Resistant Animals the animals carry 70 to 80 percent of the worms. (Kaplan, n.d.) Producers should Several other techniques can be used to cull animals that are always “wormy,” and help manage internal parasites. There are select for animals that have a natural resi- several breeds of sheep and goats that show stance or tolerance to a slight parasite bur- resistance to parasites. There is something in their genetic makeup that causes them to den. The FAMACHA© system will help you host a smaller parasite load. Breeds such identify those more tolerant animals. as Gulf Coast Native, St. Croix, Katahdin, and Barbados Blackbelly show an increa- Copper Wire Particles sed resistance to para- Recent research has been performed on site loads. Spanish, the use of copper wire particles to control Myotonic, and Kiko goat internal parasites. Studies show that cop- breeds have also shown per wire particle boluses administered to a tolerance to parasites. lambs decrease parasite loads. (Burke et Resistance will vary al., 2004) However, higher doses may within breeds as well. increase the risk for copper toxicity in Some animals, regar- sheep. Copper wire particle treatments dless of breed, will be do not appear to be effective in matureSheep breeds such as Gulf Coast Native show more resistant to parasi- sheep (Burke et al., 2005), but may workresistance to parasites. Photo by Linda Coffey. tes than others. Having in mature goats. (Chartier et al., 2000)Page 6 ATTRA Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats
  7. 7. Smart Drenching Smart Drenching refers to the ways producers can use dewormers (drenches) more selectively and effectively. —Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control, SCSRPC, n.d. Used in conjunction with FAMACHA©, Smart Drenching helps slow the development of parasite resistance. The components of Smart Drenching are: 1. Find out which dewormers work by performing with benzimidazoles, ivermectin, doramectrin, and a fecal egg count reduction test or a DrenchRite Moxidectin, if possible. larval developmental assay. 5. Benzimidazole efficacy is greatly enhanced by 2. Weigh each animal prior to deworming. Double repeating the drench 12 hours after the first dose. Albendazole should not be used during early pre- the cattle/sheep dose when deworming goats for gnancy (during buck/ram exposure and up to 30 days all dewormers, except Levamisole, which should be after their removal). dosed at 1.5 times the cattle/sheep dose in goats. 6. Simultaneously use two classes of dewormers if 3. Deliver the dewormer over the tongue in the resistance is suspected. back of the throat with a drench tip or drench gun. 7. Drench only the animals that need treatment . 4. Withhold feed 12 to 24 hours prior to drenching (SCSRPC, n.d.)Research is still underway on this tech- Conclusionnique, especially for long-term studiesto determine the copper levels that are Control of internal parasites in sheep andtoxic to sheep. goats can be a daunting task. Previous con- trol methods are no longer viable, so new techniques must be used Techniques suchNematode-Trapping Fungus as increased pasture management, SmartAnother tool currently being researched is Drenching, FAMACHA©, and selecting par-the use of nematode-trapping fungus. This asite-resistant animals can help to managefungus traps parasite larva in the feces, internal parasites. These techniques reduceinterrupting its life cycle. Research has dependence on dewormers and lead to a moreshown that it is “effective in significantly sustainable parasite management program.reducing development of L3 and appears New techniques, such as copper wire parti-to be an effective tool for biocontrol of cles and nematode-trapping fungus, are beingparasitic nematodes in goats” (Terrill et researched and developed. These develop-al., 2004). The use of these fungi is still ments may increase the tools available to bat-being researched. tle internal parasites of small ruminants.Resources • Dairy Sheep • Small Ruminant Sustainability ChecksheetThe following publications are available from ATTRA. • Small Ruminant ResourcesThese publications are free of cost. Copies can be • Integrated Parasite Management for Livestockrequested by calling 800-346-9140 or at our website: • Predator Control for Sustainable and Livestock Production • Goats: Sustainable Production Overview • Multispecies Grazing • Meat Goats: Sustainable Production • Matching Livestock and Forage Resources • Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production • Rotational Grazing • Sustainable Sheep Production • Pastures: Sustainable ATTRA Page 7
  8. 8. Other Resources HA%20response%20to%20requests%20from%20producSouthern Consortium for Small Ruminant ers%20v4.pdfParasite Control, Kaplan, R., J. Burke, T. Terrill, J. Miller, W. Getz, S.Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners Mobini, et al. 2004. Validation of the FAMACHA© eye1910 Lyda Avenue, Bowling Green, KY 42104-5809 color chart for detecting clinical anemia in sheep andPhone: 270-793-0781, goats on farms in the southern United States. Veterinary Parasitology, 123, 105-120.Management of Barber Pole Worm in Sheep and Goats Min, B., S. Hart. 2003. Tannins for suppression ofin the Southern U.S. internal parasites. Journal of Animal Science, 81 ( Supplement 2), E102-E109.Maryland Small Ruminant Page Scarfe, A.D. 1993. Approaches to Managing intestinal Nematode Parasites in Small Ruminants.FAMACHA© Information Retrieved August 31,2005, from agronomy/goats/handbook/ Shaik, S., T. Terrill J. Miller, B. Kauakou, G. Kannan,Langston University, Oklahoma: R. Kallu, et al. 2004. Effects of feeding sericea lespe- deza hay to goats infected with Haemonchus contortus. • E. (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research South African Journal of Animal Science, 34 (Supple- ment 1), 248-250. • Information about Internal & External Parasites Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite of Goats, Control [SCSRPC]. (n.d.). Smart Drenching for SheepReferences and Goats [Brochure]. Fort Valley, GA: Author.Burke, J., J. Miller, D. Brauer. 2005. The effective- Terrill, T.H., M. Larsen, O. Samples, S. Husted, J.E.ness of copper oxide wire particles as an anthelmintic Miller, R.M. Kaplan, et al. 2004. Capability of thein pregnant ewes and safety to offspring. Veterinary nematode-trapping fungus Duddingtonia flagrans toParasitology, 131, 291-297 reduce infective larvae of gastrointestinal nematodes in goat feces in the southeastern United States: doseBurke, J., J. Miller, D. Olcott, B. Olcott, T. Terrill. titration and dose time interval studies. Veterinary2004. Effect of copper oxide wire particles dosage and Parasitology, 102, 285-296.feed supplement level on Haemonchus contortus infec- Zajac, A., T. Gipson. 2000. Multiple anthelmintiction in lambs. Veterinary Parasitology, 123, 235-243. resistance in goat herd. Veterinary Parasitology, 87,Chartier, C., E. Etter, H. Heste, I. Pors, C. Koch, B. 163-172.Dellac. 2000. Efficacy of copper oxide needles for thecontrol of nematode parasites in dairy goats. Vet. Res.Commun., 24, 389-399.Kaplan, R. 2004(a). Responding to the emergence ofmultiple-drug resistant Haemonchus contortus: Smart Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and GoatsDrenching and FAMACHA©. Proceedings of the Geor- By Margo Halegia Veterinary Medical Association 2004 Food Animal NCAT Agriculture SpecialistConference, Irwinville, GA (1-9). ©NCAT 2006 Paul Driscoll, EditorKaplan, R. 2004(b). Responding to the emergence of Karen Van Epen, Productionmultiple-drug resistant Haemonchus contortus: SmartDrenching and FAMACHA© [PowerPoint]. Retrieved This publication is available on the Web at: 12, 2005, orGoat%20Prodn%20Conf%20June04%20Comp%20 IP293Kaplan, R. (n.d.) Open letter to sheep and goat pro- Slot 289ducers regarding the FAMACHA© program. Retrieved Version 100406July 12, 2005, 8 ATTRA