Prevalences of gastrointestinal parasites in sheep and parasite-control practices in NW Spain.Prev Vet Med. 2006 Jul 17; 75(1-2):56-62.PV
A coprological survey to know the presence of gastro-intestinal nematode parasites infecting sheep was done in Galicia (NW Spain), an area with Atlantic climate where sheep production is replacing cattle due to the Agricultural Community Politics of the European Union. From September 2001 to November 2002, 1710 faecal samples were randomly collected from 49 sheep farms and examined by using the flotation technique to determine the prevalence of gastro-intestinal nematode parasites. The sheep-level prevalence was 100%, and the genera identified were Chabertia, Cooperia, Haemonchus, Nematodirus, Oesophagostomum, Teladorsagia, Trichostrongylus and Trichuris spp. A questionnaire was distributed to the farmers (at the same time as sampling) about parasite-control practices during the year before sampling (2000). Ninety percent (95% CI 81%, 98%) of the farmers said they used antiparasitic drugs occasionally, but none of them asked for a coprological analysis prior to the treatment and the efficacy of the drugs was never evaluated. A higher median EPG was observed in the treated sheep (163) than in the untreated ones (26). Chemotherapy was the only parasite-control practice. Flocks that treated according to the farmer's previous experience had higher median EPG (236) than other flocks (185 following the prescription of their veterinary clinician and 232 based on the commercial agent's counsel). Typically, one benzimidazole-treatment per year was applied in autumn and non-veterinary counsel was used. Sheep treated with imidotiazoles had lower EPG (144) than other drugs (164 for the benzimidazoles and 166 for the macrocyclic lactones). We found a higher median EPG in the sheep receiving two treatments/year (175) than in those treated only once per year (156). These results suggest lack of knowledge about worm-control strategies and anthelmintic use or unwillingness to apply such knowledge.