Efficacy of copper oxide wire particles against gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep and goats

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Profitable sheep and goat production in the USA is severely limited by gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasitism, particularly by Haemonchus contortus. Copper oxide wire particles (COWP) have anti-parasitic properties in the diet of small ruminants, but efficacy of COWP may differ between sheep and goats. In a study with weaned kids (Kiko × Spanish cross, 6 months old) and lambs (Katahdin or Dorper × Blackface crosses, 5 months old), grazing the same pasture area in Central Georgia, 2 g of COWP in a gel capsule was given to half the animals of each species, while the other half were given no COWP. Fecal and blood samples were taken weekly to determine GIN fecal egg counts (FEC) and blood packed cell volume (PCV). After COWP treatment, animals were grazed for 4 weeks and then slaughtered, with adult GIN recovered from the abomasum and small intestines for counting and identification to species. For both sheep and goats, COWP treatment reduced EPG (P < 0.05), increased PCV (P < 0.05), and lowered abomasal GIN numbers (P < 0.05). For EPG, these differences were 82.5 and 90.5% for sheep and goats, respectively, 26 days after treatment, while adult H. contortus were 67.2 and 85.8% lower for COWP-treated sheep and goats, respectively. In this study, COWP treatment was equally effective against H. contortus infection in lambs and kids and appears to be an effective method of controlling H. contortus infection for up to 6 weeks in small ruminants following weaning. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.

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Veterinary Parasitology

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