Developing Sustainable Internal Parasite Control Programs for Small Ruminants

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2002: $14,995.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $15,000.00
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Joseph Tritschler
Virginia State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: parasite control, grazing management, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, stocking rate, feed/forage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems


    A detailed phone survey was conducted with small ruminant producers in the Mid-Atlantic region (n=77 farms). Survey questions covered farm demographics, farm management, anthelmintic usage and perceived anthelmintic problems. Farm trend analysis did not reveal any significant or suggestive differences related to anthelmintic problems. This may be attributed to difference response patterns between goat and sheep producers, particularly those who had beef cattle. One-noted differences were that goat producers tended to overstock their acreage, which would be expected to exacerbate parasite problems. Anthelmintic testing with a more detailed survey was continued on-farm by comparing fecal egg counts prior to and following treatment. Results for fenbendazole, albendazole and ivermectin indicated moderate to severe resistance. In contrast, levamisole and moxidectin were still moderately effective, but signs of resistance were noticed. Data suggest anthelmintic resistance is a serious problem. The third year of the study emphasized producer education on alternative parasite control methods, which is ongoing.


    Control of gastrointestinal nematodes is a major factor limiting small ruminant production, especially in humid warm climates. Since the development of modern broad spectrum anthelmintics, treatment programs have relied heavily upon their use. Commercial release was followed quickly by the occurrence of anthelmintic resistant nematodes. The purpose of this study was to explore management practices used to control gastrointestinal nematodes and the prevalence of resistance in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Project objectives:

    The following are the six main objectives or targets from the proposal:

    1) Survey development and implementation
    2) On-farm survey and testing
    3) Fact sheet development and distribution
    4) Outreach workshop and presentations
    5) Follow-up survey
    6) Veterinarian survey and agent training

    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.