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Prevention and Control of Common Gastrointestinal Roundworms in Livestock species

Prevention and Control of Common Gastrointestinal Roundworms in Livestock species

Endoparasites in livestock

A number of endoparasites infect the livestock species living in different geographic regions, climatic conditions, type of raising (stall fed or grazing) etc. These Gastrointestinal Roundworms affect all kind of livestock particularly, cattle, sheep and goat.

They mostly have a direct life cycle. Usually the females lay thousands of eggs, which pass out in the faeces of infected animals. If the environmental conditions are suitable the eggs will develop to the first stage larva. Hatched larvae thrive on pastures with the help of cuticle. The larvae increase their size through moulting and slowly develop into second-stage and third-stage larva. The third-stage larva forms the infective stage where migrate in the grass blades and position themselves sufficient enough to be eaten by the animal. Once the larva enters the animal, it becomes sexually mature.

Although numerous antihelminthics have been developed, resistance has been reported in several countries. It is known that once a worm population develops resistance to one class of antihelminthics, it is likely to develop resistance to other class much faster. Therefore, preventive measures are to be followed.

Preventive measures

The following specific preventive measures are to be followed to protect livestock from  endoparasites.

  • Maintain healthy herd by periodic assessment of faecal samples for likely worm burden. Periodic assessment will tell us the type of worm infections which will allow proper treatment cycles and management.
  • Provide good nutrition for strengthening the immune system so that the animals become resistant to worm infections. Young animals should be fed colostrum within 6hrs of birth so that they receive sufficient passive immunity.
  • Adequate Pasture management by resting pastures for several months by keeping the area free of livestock so that the larva die due to heat and dryness before infective stage. This is due to the fact that larvae in the pastures are often killed by sunlight, dryness and cold. Rotational grazing is practiced to ensure good quality pasture and also kill many worms at larval stage. Plowing the pasture will kill many infective larva. Keep the pastures dry so that the intermediate host like snails will be diminished.
  • Maintain stocking density, overcrowding of the animals must be avoided
  • Separate young and old stock
  • Maintain hygiene in sheds and pastures by removing dung and beddings daily
  • Timely deworming of animals. Ensure use of best Antihelminthics at proper dose. Read the instructions carefully before feeding anthelminthics. Find out the spectrum of activity of drugs and at which stage of infection it is effective.
  • For successful treatment and control of parasites in domestic animals one needs to understand the nature of parasites, interactions with their hosts, their life cycle and stage of development.

Content contributors

  • Saroj Rai, Indian Council of Agricultural Research – National Dairy Research Institute, Eastern Regional Station, Kalyani – 741235, WB, India 
  • Ruma Jas, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Belgachia, Kolkata, WB, India

Last Modified : 7/7/2022



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