Follow up testing is crucial part of deworming progams

laboratory testing

A deworming program is a critical part to any livestock operation, and follow-up tests can help producers determine if that treatment plan is actually working.

Researchers at Boehringer-Ingelheim say testing can help veterinarians determine if the chosen deworming program is effective.

“We can find out where you are as a baseline for your individual operation, and then also be able to measure whether or not the expected performance or efficacy of your deworming program is at the level you would like. Also potentially identifying with your diagnostics the particular types of parasites that might be impacting your operation, and that can also be maybe related a little bit to the age or phase of production of cattle that the owners will be working with and also it might be able to give an indication whether or not we need to kind of adjust the deworming program to fit that particular operation,” Dr. D.L Step said.

Dr. Step notes there are a couple diagnostic tests labs typically use.

“Fecal egg count, and what we do on that it get the number of eggs per gram. And we use this in what they call a fecal egg count reduction test. So that means you collect some samples at the time of deworming, and then, depending upon the class of dewormer being administered, you collect some follow-up samples within two to four weeks depending on the type of product following the administration, and then you calculate a reduction in those egg counts. And that will be a reflection within that population of how the particular deworming program is performing,” Dr. Step said.

Lab technicians can also perform a test called coproculture. That’s where they take a stool sample containing parasite eggs, lay them out, and let them hatch.
From there researchers can get a better look at what species of parasite is infecting the animal. Dr. Step says there are other ways producers can get the most out of their existing deworming programs.

“Consider combination treatment using two or more dewormers from different drug classes and have different modes of action that can result in a better reduction of eggs for parasites, and also decrease potential resistance. Another thing is potentially to talk about refugia, something we’re trying to get additional data on in cattle. It’s where a certain percentage of the animals are not administered a dewormer product, and that will allow a dilution effect in the environment of some potentially resistant parasites. Another thing is management aspects like pasture management. Make sure that there’s plenty of grass available for the animals to graze on but also not to overgraze, where it’s harder on the normal grasses to grow up, and also we can get some noxious plants that may not be as healthy for the animals.”

He wants to remind producers no matter which route you take to always follow the product label.

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