Efficacy of Whole Herbs on Controlling Gastrointestinal Nematodes in an Alpaca Fiber Operation

Final report for ONE20-371

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2020: $13,448.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Hoof & Hound
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
Co-Leaders:
Dr. Alexia Tsakiris
Blue Sage Veterinary Wellness Center
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Project Information

Summary:

With ever-growing drug resistance and significant global prevalence, gastrointestinal nematodes are an increasingly common cause of death on small ruminant and camelid operations, threatening the productivity and economic health of those industries. An alternative to traditional anthelmintics, A novel compound of whole herbs, including constituents previously shown to be successful in nematode control, and correcting flaws previously identified in its herbal predecessors, is a viable alternative to traditional anthelmintics. Thirty-six Huacaya alpacas of mixed genders and reproductive statuses were evaluated on a basis of reproductive stress, body condition score, FAMACHA score, and naturally occurring eggs per gram on fecal testing without any intervention. Supplement was top dressed to their daily feed in the form of a coarse powder rendered from 20 whole herbs for a total dose of 500-2000 mg over a 14 d period. This treatment was repeated a total of three times, with two weeks off between each treatment period. Alpacas were continuously evaluated for production status, body condition score, FAMACHA score, and quantitative fecal testing. The herd experienced an overall increase in body condition score from 2.9 to 3.5 (P < 0.001), a decrease in FAMACHA score from 3.09 to 2.27 (P < 0.0001), and a decrease in mean trichostrongyle eggs per gram from 62 to 3.88 (P < 0.0001).The herbal blend successfully prevented further regeneration of the existing trichostrongyle population, thereby eliminating the need for traditional anthelmintics during that time period, bolstering the overall sustainability of the fiber operation.

Project Objectives:

This project seeks to prove that a scrupulously developed, high quality herbal supplement can be an efficient and effective way to inhibit the replication of H. contortus in an animal, therefore preventing an increase in fecal egg count of that animal. If this supplement is successful, it could mean that farmers will reduce their frequency of use of traditional anthelmintics to temporarily “knock down” worm populations. This will increase the overall health of a herd, increase the meat, fiber, and dairy productivity of these operations, decrease losses, and result in less intensive nursing care of individuals. This product is the next logical step for the industry as it attempts to mitigate this particularly devastating worm, without the promise of any novel anthelmintics.

Introduction:

Drug resistance following anthelmintic treatments in ruminants leaves producers with few effective options to protect their herds against parasites, which can incur economic and productivity losses. Small ruminant and camelid industries are in need of a sustainable alternative to anthelmintic usage, one that aids in healthier pastures and significant production improvements without threat of drug resistance. An alternative method that prevents a herd-wide rise in gastrointestinal nematodes would allow small ruminant and camelid operations to use anthelmintics less frequently, thereby delaying parasite resistance. 

Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), such as the trichostrongyle: Haemonchus contortus, commonly known as the barber pole worm, are the most prevalent threat to small ruminant and camelid operations throughout the world. In the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, a 2016 study detected Haemonchus contortus in 79% of the participating sheep and goat farms (Crook, 2016). Additionally, the National Animal Health Monitoring System named internal parasites the leading cause of non-predatory goat losses in the United States (Zajac, 2020). Increased parasite populations are typically the result of casual overuse of commercial dewormers, ensuring that the organisms become drug resistant. As climate change affects global temperatures, these worms are expected to become more prevalent and resistance to dewormers is likely to expand (Kaplan, 2017). 

Currently in the United States, there are six commercially available deworming products representing three drug classes. Trichostrongyles have been reported to be resistant to all three classes of dewormers (Kotze, 2016). In the Mid-Atlantic, Crook (2016) reported a 100% resistance of Haemonchus to benzimidazoles, an 82% resistance to ivermectin, a 24% resistance to levamisole, and a 47% resistance to moxidectin (Crook, 2016). However, anthelmintics are not the only available method to control parasite populations..

The current strategy to manage GINs is to maintain the naivety of the worm population to drugs, which prevents their ability to mutate and build resistance. This is referred to as the preservation of “refugia” – the prevailing recommendation of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC, 2020). Related practices include appropriate stocking density, pasture rotation, quarantining new animals, fecal testing surveillance, FAMACHA (Faffa Malan Chart) scoring, appropriate nutritional practices, and body condition scoring. However, in regions where acreage comes at a premium, practicing appropriate stocking density and pasture rotation can present significant barriers to appropriate pasture use. 

Anecdotal descriptions of botanicall anthelmintics and antidiarrheals for afflicted livestock species can be found across the globe (Gray, 2004). Tannins are frequently discussed throughout caprine and camelid communities, and tannin supplementation has resulted in reduced fecal egg counts and a reduction in fecundity (Paolini, 2003). Similar studies have explored the efficacy of various plants and potential mechanisms of action. Thyme, for example, was reported to have anthelmintic activity equivalent to thiabendazole and levamisole with respect to H. contortus (Ferreira, 2016). Veterinary parasitologists have been able to build a scientific foundation for practical use of various herbs by elucidating chemical structures of compounds and their pharmacokinetics (Mengistu, 2017). 

Available commercially, a well-known herbal deworming agent consisting of a single plant tincture, failed to control GINs in goats, and in some test populations, resulted in an increase of fecal egg counts (Burke, 2009). Parasite infestations are multifactorial, and involve poor absorption of nutrients, poor gut motility, diarrhea, abdominal inflammation, poor red blood cell regeneration, and many other comorbidities. The commercial product examined by Burke in 2009 may have failed to be efficacious because its single active ingredient is not able to address all the factors involved in chronic parasitism. An appropriate solution will not simply have only anthelmintic properties. It will also apply itself to the various comorbidities of this parasite, and prevent the parasite from reestablishing. A similar strategy was employed during a field trial of neonatal lamb diarrhea, with the treatment combining five medicinal plants. Results were favorable, with the treated group experiencing a shorter duration of clinical illness, a higher cure rate, lower mortality and higher average body weight upon recovery (Shengkun, 2015).

The comprehensive blend used in this trial combines plants with anthelmintic, anti-diarrheal, appetite stimulating, anti-inflammatory, mucosal-protectant, red blood cell stimulating, and promotility constituents. It is prepared as dried, whole herbs in order to maintain the complex branching cellular structure similar to the fibrous roughage of their natural diet. Administering a supplement in this medium will ensure that the active constituents of these plants are used to their fullest bioavailability, in the unique environment of the ruminant’s gastrointestinal physiology. An herbal antiparasitic diminishes drug safety concerns with respect to pregnancy, reproductive risks, meat and milk withdrawal. This trial aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a new herbal supplement, containing 20 whole, dried herbs, in improving Trichostrongyle egg counts, body condition score, and FAMACHA score of alpacas in different production stages.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Kim Weigman - Producer

Research

Materials and methods:

Thirty six Huacaya alpacas (26 adult females, 9 intact males, and 1 gelding) were used for supplement evaluation. Alpacas were obtained from a hobby operation in Waretown, NJ.The ten males were housed together on 0.75 acre  dry lot soil pen containing mature pine trees. emales were housed in a  1.1 acre dry lot soil pen containing mature pine trees. The two areas were separated by 0.25 acre and several visual barriers, including a tree line and barns. At the beginning of the trial, two females were lactating with cria at their side, two females were pregnant and lactating with cria at their side, and seven females were pregnant and not lactating. Nursing cria (n = 5) were not included in this trial. All animals had ad libitum access to second cutting orchard grass hay, ¼ lb of Nutrena grain, and 1 tsp Stillwater Minerals.

On day 0, all alpacas received an identifying colored collar and an individual number for the duration of the trial. At that time, each animal received a physical exam to ensure wellness prior to entering the study;no signs of infectious disease and no abnormalities were detected at that time. ndividual body condition scores, production demands, and FAMACHA scores were recorded by one trained observer. Fecal samples were collected per rectum from each individual, stored in individual plastic cups with lids, refrigerated within 30 minutes of collection, and stored for 12-24 h prior to testing. 

Fecal egg counts were obtained using the Modified McMaster fecal egg counting technique, which is described as follows. Four grams were taken from each individual’s sample, weighed using a digital scale rated for accuracy to 0.001 gram, and placed into a plastic cup. Phoenix’s sodium nitrate fecal float solution, which represents a specific gravity between 1.25 and 1.30, was added to each representative sample in 28mL aliquots. Each sample was allowed to sit undisturbed in 28mL of solution for three minutes. Fecal pellets were then digitally agitated to form a more homogenous mixture, then the solution sat undisturbed for an additional three minutes. Two 4×4” 12-ply woven gauze sponges were laid across an additional cup, and the solution was poured over top of the gauze and into the new cup to achieve straining. The gauze and the material strained by the gauze were discarded. A pipette was used to transfer the solution into both chambers of the McMaster slide. Slides sat on a level surface undisturbed for ten minutes and then were promptly read. Eggs within grid lines were counted in both chambers, both totals were added together, and the sum was multiplied by 25 to achieve a figure of “eggs per gram” for each species of egg identified.  Results for each individual were recorded alongside the individual’s identification, body condition score, FAMACHA score, and production notes.

Table 3.1: Schedule of Treatment Cycles and Fecal Egg Counts

Day

Data Collected

Treatment or No Treatment

0

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

No Treatment

14

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

No Treatment

28

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

No Treatment

42

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

Immediately after 14 days of first treatment cycle

56

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

Two weeks after 14 days of first treatment cycle

70

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

Immediately after 14 days of second treatment cycle

84

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

Two weeks after 14 days of second treatment cycle

98

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

Immediately after 14 days of third treatment cycle

112

FEC, BCS, FAMACHA, Prod

Two weeks after 14 days of third treatment cycle

 

Body weights, BCS, FAMACHA score, and FEC were collected on  d 14 and 28. After sample collection on d 28, alpacas began receiving treatment, described as the treatment period. Treatment period is defined as a two-stage addition of the supplement, with each stage lasting 7 days, resulting in a 14 d treatment period. The supplement consisted of blended whole herbs that were rendered into a coarse powder. The first phase consisted of Areca catechu, Prunus mume, Atractylodes lancea, Codonopsis pilosula, Fructus quisqualis, Zingiber officinale, Torreya gandis, Raphanus sativus L., and Omphalia lapidenscens, achieving a total of 2.0g of supplement administered to each alpaca as a feed additive. The second phase consisted of Avena sativa, Astragalus membranicus, Curcurbita pepo L., Withania somnifera, Althea officinalis, Urtica dioica L.,  Medicago sativa, Centella asiatica, Foeniculum vulgare, Silybum marianum, and Calendula officinalis acheiving a total of 2.0g of supplement administered to each alpaca as a feed additive. The authors refer to the resulting product as Early Bird. 

Table 3.2: Whole herbs included in the treatment product

Table 3.2.1 – First Phase

       

Chinese Name

Taxonomic Class

Common Descriptors

Mechanism of Action

Scientific Reference(s)

Lei Wan 

Omphalia lapidenscens

fungus

anthelmintic

Zhang, Song, Chen

Da Fu Zi

Areca catechu

palm seed

anthelmintic

Tangalin, Zhang, Li

Fei Zi

Torreya gandis

Conifer nut

anthelmintic

Li

Wu Mei

Prunus/Fructus mume

Flowering plum

astringent

Li

Shi Jun Zi

Fructus quisqualis/ Quisqualis indicum L./ Combretum indicum

Flowering vine

expels parasites

 

Dan Shen

Codonopsis pilosula

Flowering vine

Immunomostimulatory: heightens activity of macrophages, promotes RBC generation, increases blood flow and oxygen consumption of small intestine

Sun, Gao

Bai Zhu

Atractylodes lancea (A. macrocephalia)

rhizome

anti-inflammatory, carminative, prokinetic

Li, Han

Gan Jiang

Zingiber officinale

ginger root

invitro anthelemnic activity 

Qadir

Lai Fu Zi

Raphanus sativus L.

radish

anti-inflammatory, prokinetic

Sham, Choi, Ghayur

Total Dose per alpaca

2.0 grams (2000mg)

     

 

Table 3.2.2  – Second Phase

       

Chinese Name

Taxonomic Name

Common Descriptors

Mechanism of Action

Scientific Reference(s)

Yan Mai

Avena Sativa

Oatstraw

Prebiotic, antiparasitic

Sargautiene, Doligalska, Liu

Nan Gua Zi

Curcurbita pepo L. 

Pumpkin seed

Anthelmintic, antioxidant

Zhang, Li, Paul

Huang Qi

Astragalus membranicus

Flowering plant

Immunomodulatory, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory

Auyeung

Nan Fei Zui Jia

Withania somnifera/ Ashwagandha

Cherry root

Adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, hematopoetic

Bhattacharya, Chandrasekhar, Santhi, Sharma, Mishra

Yao Shu Qui

Althea officinalis

Marshmallow root

Biofilm dissolution, gastrointestinal antiinflammatory

Varadyova, Aminnezhad

Xun Ma

Urtica dioica L. 

Nettle leaf

Immunomodulatory, monocyte chemoattractant protein‐1 expression, oncogene release from intestinal epithelium, MyD88/NF‐κB/p38 signaling

Gülcin, Hajhashemi, Namazi

Zi Mu

Medicago sativa

Alfalfa

Mineral rich, gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory, hematopoetic

Bora, Huyghe, Vyas

Gotu Kola

Centella asiatica

Pennywort

Intestinal mucosal protectant, antiinflammatory

Gohil, Jana, Paocharoen, Sainath, Ullah, Wanasuntronwong

Xiao Hui Xiang

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel seed

Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, galactogogue, carminative

Varadyova, Choi,

Bensch

Shui Fei Ji

Silybum marianum

Milk Thistle seed

Antifibrotic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hematopoetic

Abenavoli, Kalatari

Jin Zhan Ju

Calendula officinalis

Flowering plant

Intestinal mucosal protectant, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotectant, antispasmodic

Al-Snafi, Bashir, Cwikla, Mehrabani,

Ukiya

Total Dose per Alpaca

2.0 grams (2000mg)

     

 

 

The first phase was administered at a dose of 500 mg/alpaca once a day for two days, then increased to 1000 mg/alpaca for two days, then increased to 2000 mg /alpaca for three days. This was achieved by sprinkling the supplement on top of each animal’s daily grain allowance. The second phase was administered at a dose of 1000 mg /alpaca once a day for three days, then increased to 2000 mg/alpaca once a day for four days. The first treatment period occurred from d 28 to 42. On d 43, addition of the supplement was discontinued, and each animal was examined, body condition scored, FAMACHA scored, and fecal samples were collected. No treatment was given from Day 43 to Day 56. On d 56, each animal was examined, body condition scored for body condition, and FAMACHA scored, and fecal samples were collected. 

Table 3.3: Dosing Schedule

14-Day Treatment

First Phase

Second Phase

Day 1

500mg/head/day

Day 2

500mg/head/day

Day 3

1000mg/head/day

Day 4

1000mg/head/day

Day 5

2000mg/head/day

Day 6

2000mg/head/day

Day 7

2000mg/head/day

Day 8

 

1000mg/head/day

Day 9

-x

1000mg/head/day

Day 10

1000mg/head/day

Day 11

2000mg/head/day

Day 12

2000mg/head/day

Day 13

2000mg/head/day

Day 14

2000mg/head/day

 

On d 57, alpacas began another two week treatment period from d 57 until d 70. Alpacas were dosed as described above, with seven days of phase 1 followed immediately by seven days of phase 2. On d 71,  each animal was examined, body condition scored, FAMACHA scored, and fecal samples were collected. From d 1 until d 84, no supplement was administered. On d 84, each animal was examined, body condition scored, FAMACHA scored, and fecal samples were collected. On d 85, alpacas began a third treatment period lasting from d 85 to 98, dosed as described above. On Day 98, supplement was discontinued, each animal was examined, body condition scored, FAMACHA scored, and fecal samples were collected No supplement was given from d 98 to 112. On d 112, each animal was examined, body condition scored, FAMACHA scored, and fecal samples were collected.

Table 3.4: Changes in Production Status During Study

Day

Adult Males (10)

Adult Females (26)

0

3 breeding studs

2 lactating, 2 lactating while pregnant, 7 pregnant

14

No Change

2 lactating, 2 lactating while pregnant, 7 pregnant

28

No Change

4 lactating while pregnant, 9 pregnant

42

No Change

4 lactating while pregnant, 9 pregnant

56

No Change

4 lactating while pregnant, 3 lactating, 6 pregnant

70

No Change

4 lactating while pregnant, 3 lactating, 6 pregnant

84

No Change

4 lactating while pregnant, 3 lactating, 6 pregnant

98

No Change

6 lactating while pregnant, 1 lactating, 5 pregnant

112

No Change

6 lactating while pregnant, 1 lactating, 5 pregnant

Research results and discussion:

During the initial 28 days when no supplement was provided, the average FAMACHA score was 3.09 (on a scale of 1 through 5, with a 1 being ideal and a 5 being severely anemic) with a range of 2.0 to 4.5. During those 28 days, 50% of the herd had positive fecal egg counts. The subjects that were positive for trichostrongyles had a range of 100 to 600 eggs per gram of trichostrongyles, with a mean of 178 eggs per gram. Many (56%) of the subjects that were positive for trichostrongyles were also positive for other species of endoparasites such as Trichuris, Nematodirus, Moniezia, and Eimeria species. 

From Day 0 to Day 42, the herd experienced a significant increase in reproductive stress. On Day 0, there were two lactating females, two lactating and pregnant females, and seven pregnant females. By Day 42, there were 4 females lactating while pregnant, and nine pregnant females. The first treatment cycle (d 28 to d 42) was administered during this time, and at its conclusion there were significant improvements in parasite burden. The average body condition of the entire herd had risen to 3.2, from 2.99 prior to treatment. The average FAMACHA score for the entire herd decreased from 3.09 to 3.02. Perhaps the most significant change was that 89% of the individuals in the herd now had negative fecal egg counts – increasing from 50% negative during the non-treatment period.The average fecal egg count for the positive subjects decreased from 178 eggs per gram to 100 eggs per gram.

At the onset of the second treatment cycle, there were 4 females lactating while pregnant, six pregnant females, and three lactating females. Despite these changes, the average body condition score of the entire herd rose to 3.34 from 2.99. The average FAMACHA score overall decreased once more, from 3.09 to 2.75. The herd was now 94% negative for trichostrongyles. The average eggs per gram of trichostrongyles for the herd after two treatment cycles was now 0 eggs per gram. 

The herd continued to experience reproductive productivity between the second and third treatment cycles. Now the female herd included 6 females lactating while pregnant, five pregnant females, and one lactating female. At the close of the third treatment cycle, body condition score of the herd was an average of 3.5, rather than 2.99 during the period of no treatment. The average FAMACHA score experienced further decrease with the average being 2.26, from an average of 3.09 during the period of no treatment. The average number of alpacas negative for trichostrongyles was 97%. 

From the period of no treatment, to the conclusion of the third treatment cycle, all animals in the herd experienced an increase in body condition, a decrease in FAMACHA score, and a decrease in eggs per gram of trichostrongyles. However, results were further analyzed to be more discriminatory between the different groups of production. Focusing on females with the highest reproductive demands, the females who were both lactating and pregnant, body condition increased from 2.99 to 3.10. The same production group experienced a decrease in FAMACHA score from 3.09 to 2.95. They also experienced a ten-fold reduction in fecal egg count.

Pregnant females who were not nursing experienced an increase in body condition from 2.99 to 3.2, a decrease in FAMACHA score from 3.09 to 2.89, and a two-fold reduction in fecal egg count. Lactating non-pregnant females experienced a decrease in body condition from 2.9 to 2.8, a decrease in FAMACHA score from 3.09 to 2.72, and a five-fold decrease in fecal egg count. Females with no production demands experienced an increase in body condition from 2.99 to 3.8, a decrease in FAMACHA score from 3.09 to 2.46, and a two-fold decrease in fecal egg count. Males experienced an increase in body condition from 2.99 to 3.5, a decrease in FAMACHA score from 3.09 to 2.85, and a four-fold decrease in fecal egg count.

The feed additive was not only successful in preventing further parasitism in an alpaca operation, but it out-peformed expectations in several capacities. With respect to the product’s ability to arrest trichostrongyle propagation, the expectation was that there would not be a significant rise in eggs per gram of trichostrongyles. However, in all production categories, eggs per gram of trichostrongyles decreased, with many animals converting to completely negative fecal egg counts. Previously negative animals remained negative. 

Since body condition and parasitism are undeniably associated, the maintenance of body condition was a very important parameter for this study. The physical demands on a healthy adult alpaca during conception, gestation, and lactation are expected to manifest as a decrease in body condition. One collection of data from the La Raya Llama and Alpaca Research Station demonstrates that a dam will experience 11-15% loss of body weight during the first three postpartum months. From an additional study, one can expect that a healthy adult dam will lose an average of 9kg from the prepartum period to the postpartum period (Burton 2003). In our experimental herd, half of the females were adults under reproductive stress (see Table 3.4) and one quarter of the females were growing weanlings, leaving only one quarter of the females in a maintenance stage of life. While our expectation for the product was that it would stabilize the herd’s body condition, despite significant reproductive demands, body condition increased for all production groups. The ability to decrease trichostrongyle population herd-wide and support healthy body condition during periods of high demand makes this feed additive a strong alternative to traditional dewormers. If a producer can reduce drug usage in instances where they would typically need it, then that producer is delaying drug resistance both on their own farm, and on the farms with which they trade. 

The value of an alternative to traditional dewormers cannot be understated given how the topography of livestock is changing. While prudent pasture practices are the keystone of parasite management, there are very real barriers to these strategies. In underserved regions without access to food animal veterinarians, many operations haven’t been historically judicious with their drug usage, disarming themselves for the future. In regions where development continues to creep into rural areas, the amount of acreage available for farmers decreases. Delaying the need for traditional dewormers either in the short term or the long term will achieve dividends in terms of overall production gains and pasture health. 

Since the priority of this study was to determine if a composite herbal feed additive could be efficacious against a mixed-species GIN population, budgetary concessions were made. Now that this mode of parasite control has performed appreciably, resources for more elevated trials can be expanded. The most notable shortcoming of this study was the usage of the McMaster technique for egg detection without the added diagnostic support of either larval culture, DNA detection, or peanut agglutination tagging. A follow up trial, using the same product, is planning on using a population of sheep who are profoundly afflicted by H. contortus, and face ongoing morbidity and mortality. With this more challenging environment, quantitative flotations will be complemented by both larval culture and peanut agglutination identification. After this trial, further analyses could address corollary questions, such as the possibility of GIN resistance to this feed additive, or establishment of toxic doses. 

There are more questions to address, however this study was successful in showing that a multimodal herbal formula has a scientifically sound position in the toolbox of trichostrongyle weapons. Despite considerable reproductive stress, and in the absence of no other medications or dewormers administered, three treatments of the herbal blend increased body condition scores, decreased FAMACHA scores, and decreased trichostrongyle eggs per gram in a way that was statistically significant in comparison to no treatment of the same herd in the same environment.

Research conclusions:

The goal of this feed additive is to prevent further regeneration of the existing trichostrongyle population in any given operation in spite of significant production demands, thereby delaying or eliminating the operation’s need for traditional anthelmintics during peak reproductive stress.The feed additive utilized in this trial, in conjunction with appropriate management practices, increased the overall sustainability of the herd, decreased clinical illness and production losses, eased economic strain on the operation, and aided in the delay of anthelmintic resistance. A composite herbal feed additive can be an efficient and effective way to inhibit the replication of trichostrongyles present in an individual or the herd, therefore preventing an increase in fecal egg counts. This results in reduced usage of traditional anthelmintics to “knock down” trichostrongyle populations in an operation. In turn, this increases the overall health of the herd, increasing the meat, fiber, and/or dairy dividends of the operation, as well as decreasing mortality and expenses related to morbidity. Without the promise of any novel anthelmintics, this could be the next logical step towards a solution for this particularly devastating problem.

Participation Summary
1 Farmer participating in research

Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary

5 Consultations
3 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Journal articles
1 On-farm demonstrations

Participation Summary

1 Farmers
5 Number of agricultural educator or service providers reached through education and outreach activities
Education/outreach description:

During this project, interim results were shared with multiple farmers and colleagues, whom then requested consultation for more information about this product, its availability, and how best to use it in conjunction with pasture management practices. Two livestock veterinarians from New Jersey, including the Northeastern Regional Director of the AASRP, several AASRP members, two livestock veterinarians in North Carolina, one Welsh livestock veterinarian, and a veterinary teaching school clinician have all contacted the authors to learn more about this project. Five local farmers (two goat, two alpaca, and one sheep) employed use of this product on their own herds after the partner farmer, Kim Weigman, discussed interim results during agricultural community outreach opportunities. After several losses due to Haemonchus contortus, an alpaca farm in southern New Jersey requested a consultation and demonstration of the product. 

An educational series on Haemonchus contortus was posted on Facebook.

Blog post #1 
Blog post #2 
Blog post #3 
Blog post #4 
Blog post #5 

Furthermore, the PennVet Food Animal Club has requested a lecture in April 2021 to discuss this project. Similarly, a professor of Animal Science at Delaware Valley University has requested an upcoming lecture, also in April. Abstracts have also been submitted as proposed lecture topics at continuing education conferences for the AASRP and the International Camelid Health Committee. The New Jersey Farm Bureau has also been approached to feature product details at their annual conference for sustainable farming practices.

A manuscript is in its final draft, with additions to be made by the statistician including statistical graphics. Once this is completed, a manuscript will be submitted to the Small Ruminant Research Journal for publication.
WORKING_DRAFT-Assessment of a multimodal herbal feed additive on reducing trichostrongyle burden in an alpaca fiber operation

 

Learning Outcomes

10 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key areas in which farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitude, skills and/or awareness:

The prevalence of drug resistance in the region, the importance of abstaining from frequent deworming, the validity of botanicals as an alternative to anthelmintic usage, the awareness of pasture management practices.

Project Outcomes

10 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
3 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

The cooperating farmer, Kim Weigman, has continued to use the feed additive once monthly and feels that it is responsible for decreased mortality and morbidity due to parasitism on her operation. She feels that overall animal body condition, conception rates, and fiber quality has improved. Several farmers and veterinarians in the northeast have initiated contact to be involved with follow-up studies. Two partnerships are currently being discussed, one involved six giraffes in a zoo conservancy, and the other involving 100 sheep on a dual use farm. Sourcing routes are being explored in order to increase manufacturing of the product.

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

For the following studies mentioned above, elevated diagnostics to speciate parasites, such as larval culture and peanut agglutination tagging, will be employed to bolster confidence in results. The question that the study investigated was successfully answered, and I do plan to market and sell the product investigated to small ruminant and camelid operations as part of a comprehensive parasite management plan. The validity of herbs as a parasite management tool still faces a large amount of resistance and skepticism in the scientific community. Therefore, greater broadcasting of these studies is necessary. 

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.