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Potentials of using milk performance data and FAMACHA score as indicators for Targeted Selective Treatment in Lacaune dairy sheep in Switzerland


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Schwarz, Katharina; Bapst, Beat; Holinger, Mirjam; Thüer, Susann; Schleip, Inga and Werne, Steffen (2020) Potentials of using milk performance data and FAMACHA score as indicators for Targeted Selective Treatment in Lacaune dairy sheep in Switzerland. Veterinary Parasitology: X, 4, p. 100030.

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Online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590138920300084


Targeted Selective Treatment (TST) is one approach to slow down the development of anthelmintic resistance. Its success is closely linked to the correct identification of animals in need of treatment. In dairy goats it has been proposed to use milk yield as TST indicator and to focus treatments on high yielding dairy goats. In dairy sheep the relationship between milk performance and infection with gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) is not well known. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between milk yield and GIN infection in dairy sheep and based on this, to evaluate milk performance data as a potential TST indicator. Overall 1159 Lacaune ewes of 15 dairy sheep farms in Switzerland were included in the study. The ewes were phenotyped once between August and December 2019, when they were at least 70 days in milk (DIM). Individual faecal samples were taken from every ewe to determine the nematode egg concentration per gram faeces (EPG). In addition, the clinical parameters FAMACHA score and packed cell volume (PCV) were measured. Linear mixed models were used to analyse the effects of the collected parameters on EPG. EPG increased significantly with increasing test day milk yields (P = 0.002), indicating high yielding ewes to be less resistant to GIN infections than low yielding ewes. The effect was most pronounced in earlier lactation but remained within a moderate range. Overall, our results indicated the potential of using milk yield data of rather early lactation as TST indicator in dairy sheep. On farms with predominantly H. contortus the combination with FAMACHA might improve the correct identification of highly infected ewes, as FAMACHA was correlated with EPG (r = 0.37, P < 0.001).

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Gastrointestinal nematodes, Dairy sheep, Milk yield, Targeted selective treatment, Organic farming, Anthelmintic resistance
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal Health
Germany > University of Applied Science Eberswalde
Switzerland > Other organizations
Deposited By: Werne, Dr. Steffen
ID Code:38473
Deposited On:05 Oct 2020 11:04
Last Modified:05 Oct 2020 11:04
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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