Sericea lespedeza hay as a natural deworming agent against gastrointestinal nematode infection in goats

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Infection with gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), particularly Haemonchus contortus, is the biggest constraint to profitable goat production in the United States (US). Due to widespread prevalence of anthelmintic resistance in goat GIN, alternative, non-chemical control methodologies are needed to increase profitability of small ruminant industries. A study was designed to test the efficacy of a high condensed tannin (CT) legume, sericea lespedeza [SL, Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours. G. Don)] against GIN of goats fed in confinement. The goats were given a trickle infection of 500 H. contortus larvae/animal three times per week during the trial to simulate natural infection. Twenty Boer bucks (6-8 months old) were fed bermudagrass [BG, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] hay plus concentrate for 5 weeks in confinement and then 10 animals were switched to SL hay for an additional 7 weeks. Throughout the trial, feces and blood were collected weekly from individual animals to determine fecal egg count (FEC) and blood packed cell volume (PCV). Fecal cultures were made weekly from pooled samples to determine treatment effects on GIN larval development. All goats were slaughtered at the end of the trial, with adult worms in the abomasum and small intestine of each goat recovered, counted, and identified to species. Feeding SL hay to goats significantly (P < 0.01) reduced FEC and increased PCV compared with BG hay. In addition, a lower percentage of ova in feces from SL-fed goats developed into infective (L3) larvae. There was a direct effect of SL hay on adult worms, with significantly (P < 0.01) lower numbers of both abomasal (H. contortus, Teladorsagia circumcincta) and small intestinal (Trichostrongylus colubriformis) nematodes compared with goats fed BG hay. Feeding SL hay to goats is an effective means of controlling parasitic nematodes and may be a potential supplement/replacement for chemical anthelmintics. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Veterinary Parasitology

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