Internal parasites of ruminants
A parasite lives in or on another animal and feeds on it. All animals and humans can become infected with parasites. Ruminants can be infected with several types of worms.
Types of parasites
- Roundworms are small, often white in color, and look like threads. Different roundworms are found in all parts of the gut and the lungs.
- Tapeworms are long, and flat and look like white ribbons. They consist of many segments and live in the intestine.
- Flukes are flat and leaf-like, they live in the liver. Schistosomes are small and worm-like, both infect animals kept on wet, marshy ground as their eggs develop in water.
- The roundworms, flukes and schistosomes lay eggs which pass out of the animal in the dung onto the pasture.
- Tapeworms produce eggs in the segments which break off and pass out in the dung. Animals become infected when they graze the pasture.
The effect of parasites on the animal
- Parasites feed on the food in the gut and on the blood of the host.
- The animal becomes weak and loses weight or does not gain weight. It can develop diarrhea, which in sheep makes the wool wet and attracts flies.
- Eventually the host becomes so weak that it dies. Young animals are especially affected by parasites.
Animals becoming infected with parasites
Control of parasites
We can control parasites by:
- Killing the worms within the body
- Reducing the chances of the animal becoming infected on pastures
The worms can be killed inside the host by giving it a drug. The drugs are given by drenching, tablets or injection. Ask your veterinarian when and how often you should treat your animals.
In order to cut down the chance of animals becoming infected:
- If possible, move stock to new pasture every one to two weeks.
- Young animals should be separated from old animals and allowed to graze fresh pasture first.
- If cattle, sheep and goats are kept in the same area, let the cattle graze the pasture before the sheep, as some worms which would infect the sheep will not infect the cattle.
- If animals are kept in an enclosure, removing the dung and disposing of it will prevent the animals picking up more worms or others becoming infected.
- Do not allow animals to graze on marshy ground or on pasture where the grass is very short.
- When animals have been treated, turn them out onto fresh pasture.
Deworming of calves
Many buffalo calves die due to round worm infestation. Calves should be dewormed starting from 15 days of age at 15 days’ interval with piperazine. Dose should be according to body weight.
- Leaves of nirgundi (Vitex negundo), khorpad (Aloe vera), Neem seeds, kirayat (Andrographis paniculata), akamadar (Calotrophis) are to be taken at 1 kg each.
- All are to be ground well by sprinkling little water and filtered and 4 liters of herbal mixture can be obtained. This has to be stored for 3 days.
- Then 30 ml of the extract is taken and administered for one adult sheep or goat.
- For younger sheep or goat less than 3 months old 10 ml has to be administered orally. For adult cattle 100 ml has to be administered.
- The dewormer arrest loose motion and result in solid dung and it is free from obnoxious odor. It increases grazing efficiency of animals and they look healthy.
Source : Pashu sakhi Handbook
Last Modified : 7/2/2021
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