Effect of copper oxide wire particles compared to copper sulphate on Haemonchus contortus infection in lambs

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2009: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Grant Recipient: Louisiana State University
Region: Southern
State: Louisiana
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. James Miller
Louisiana State University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: parasite control
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture


    Infection with gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasites, particularly Haemonchus contortus, a blood-feeder, is the most important constraint to profitable small ruminant production in the southeastern US and worldwide. Anthelmintic resistance is widespread and alternative control methods are needed. Two studies were conducted to compare the efficacy of COWP and CS treatment. on naturally acquired H. contortus infection and potential toxicity. The first study was a short-term (14 day) fecal egg count reduction study which showed that COWP was more efficacious than CS. The second study was a long-term study that compared the efficacy of COWP and CS administered 2 times over a 16 week summer grazing period and any associated copper toxicity. That study showed that COWP was more efficacious than CS after the second treatment only, and there was no observed toxicity. Results have been disseminated to scientific and producer groups via producer workshops, the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control web page (SCSRPC.org), and various scientific and extension publications.


    Infection with the blood feeding nematode Haemonchus contortus is an important problem for small ruminant production worldwide. Anthelmintic resistance is widespread and alternative control methods are needed. Weanlings are especially susceptible to infection during their first grazing season. Infection with H. contortus can rapidly lead to lost production and even death. Over use of anthelmintics (dewormers) has resulted in high levels of dewormer resistance in GIN throughout the southeast and other regions where H. contortus is a problem. The problem has become so severe that it is threatening viability of small-scale and limited-resource small ruminant farm operations in this region despite continued high demand for sheep and goat products. A more sustainable approach to parasite control involves integrating targeted, limited use of anthelmintics with non-chemical alternative control methods that reduce GIN numbers in the host animal and lower pasture contamination with eggs and larvae. Copper oxide wire particles (COWP) have been shown to reduce H. contortus infection in sheep and goats. Preliminary evidence has shown that copper sulphate (CS), as a drench, may also be useful. Since copper can be toxic to sheep, the question of which has the least impact on toxicity has also become an issue.

    Project objectives:

    1) Determine the effect of COWP compared to CS on H. contortus infection in grazing lambs and 2) Determine the liver copper accumulation of COWP compared to CS in grazing lambs.

    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.