Effect of sericea lespedeza leaf meal pellets on adult female Haemonchus contortus in goats

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© 2014 Elsevier B.V. Sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) is a perennial warm-season forage rich in condensed tannins (CT) that has been reported to have anthelmintic activity against small ruminant gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), particularly Haemonchus contortus, a highly pathogenic blood-feeder, but the mechanism of action of CT against H. contortus is not clearly understood. An experiment with young goats was designed to study the effect of SL leaf meal pellets on (1) a mature H. contortus infection, and (2) the surface appearance of adult H. contortus female worms. Thirty-six female and castrated male Boer crossbred goats artificially infected with H. contortus larvae were fed 75% SL leaf meal pellets or alfalfa pellets (18 goats/treatment group) in a 28-day confinement feeding trial. Fecal and blood samples were collected weekly for fecal egg count (FEC) and packed cell volume (PCV) determination, respectively, and all goats were slaughtered at the end of the trial for adult GIN recovery and counting. Five adult female H. contortus were recovered from the abomasum of two goats from each treatment group and from a prior study in which 75% and 95% SL leaf meal pellets or a commercial feed pellet were group-fed to grazing goats (270 days old, Spanish males, 10/treatment group) at 0.91. kg/head/d for 11 weeks. Adult GIN collected were fixed and examined for evidence of surface damage using scanning electron microscopy. Feeding 75% SL pellets to young goats in confinement reduced (. P<. 0.05) FEC compared with control animals, while total worm numbers and PCV were not influenced by treatment. Three out of the 5 adult H. contortus recovered from SL treatment goats in the confinement feeding trial had cuticular surface damage, while no damage was observed on worms from the control group. All five worms observed from both SL treatments in the grazing study showed a shrunken, disheveled cuticular surface, whereas this was not observed on worms from control animals. Overall, this work suggests that a possible mechanism of action of SL against female H. contortus in the animal's abomasum is a direct action of CT on the cuticle of the worm.

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Veterinary Parasitology

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