Developing Sustainable Internal Parasite Control Programs for Small Ruminants
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. 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 (n=20 farms). Results for fenbendazole, albendazole and ivermectin indicated moderate to severe resistance. In contrast, levamisole and moxidectin were still relatively effective. Data suggest anthelmintic resistance is a serious problem. The third year of the study will concentrate on education programs updating parasite control.
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
1) The survey was completed with detailed 30-minute phone conversations with 77 small ruminant producers. The data were analyzed and abstracts presented at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologist annual meeting in Denver and at the American Society of Animal Science, Southern Section annual meeting in Tulsa.
2) Some 20 farms were visited in years one and two, and detailed surveys and on-farm anthelmintic testing trials we conducted. Interestingly the initial was particularly dry and this last year was particularly wet. This information was also presented in abstracts at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologist annual meeting in Denver and at the American Society of Animal Science, Southern Section annual meeting in Tulsa.
3) This project was highlighted in the SARE 2003 program highlights publication.
4) Ten parasite control outreach presentations were added in the second year (to four in the first year). These were a Louisa County program (spring), Blue-Ridge Goat Association program (summer), parasite control in goats (Virginia Tech Farm and Family Showcase), Eastern Cashmere Goat Association National Show (Virginia State Fair), Mid Atlantic Meat Goat Symposium (Suffolk,VA), Virginia State University program (fall small ruminant expo), Virginia Licensed Veterinary Technicians (annual continuing education program), joint Goochland / Powhatan Counties program (winter), and Wisconsin Sheep Producers (WisLine teleconference). The focus of the third year will be to develop in-depth parasite control workshops.
5) Several fact sheets have been developed and are being revised for use in upcoming programs. These are attached and include: a fecal analysis fact sheet (used at Eastern Cashmere Goat Association program), a parasite control fact sheet (used for continuing education training of Virginia Licensed Veterinary Technicians), a parasite control fact sheet (used by producers for state-wide teleconference in Wisconsin and for the Goochland / Powhattan Counties program: This fact sheet is available on-line at http://www.uwex.edu/ces/animalscience/sheep/wisline_03/index.html).
6) In-service training was given to Virginia’s Licensed Veterinary Technicians. We are working with Veterinary Schools (Virginia – Maryland Regional and Georgia) to develop additional detailed training programs for the next year.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
1) Producer response has been excellent. The producers that have participated in the survey are spurring an accelerated outreach effort. The many programs that have been given or planned were a direct result of producer requests. This proactive producer initiative is driving an accelerating Extension program. Producer receptiveness for participating in the trials has appeared to accelerate.
2) There are direct and indirect cost savings to producers as a result of these trials. Direct savings are realized by discontinuing ineffective parasite control programs. In our survey, the average cost of anthelmintic was about $0.60 a treatment. Combined with on-farm testing results, it suggests that producers are spending between $1 and $3 per head annually on treatments that have little or no effect. With about 100 head per farm, this is a significant direct savings. In directly, parasite burden reduce weight gain and ineffective treatments would not remove parasites. Studies have suggested potential losses of 5 – 10 lbs per head for market lambs and kids. With current prices at $1 or more per pound, this represents considerable lost potential gain.
3) The on-farm trial created an opportunity for collaboration in food safety. A subset of the fecal samples collected for parasite analysis have been tested for potential human pathogens (Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7).
4) The current program forms the basis for detailed in-depth parasite control programs, which are being developed for the final year.
2104 Mountain Hall Road
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Virginia State University
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President, VA Meat Goat Association
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