Can protein supplementation reduce reliance on anthelmintics in small ruminant production systems?
BACKGROUND: A large body of evidence supports the view that protein supplementation can reduce worm burdens and faecal egg counts (FEC), and improve productivity of growing and periparturient sheep, infected with gastrointestinal nematode parasites. The magnitude of these effects may be dependent on protein level and composition. Recent studies indicate that FEC reduces to a greater extent upon supplementation with by-pass protein compared to rumen degradable protein. These outcomes would suggest that supplementation with by-pass protein could reduce reliance on anthelmintics (AH) for the control of parasitic gastroenteritis in ruminants. METHODS: Grazing, parasitized lambs were either drenched and not supplemented, or left undrenched but were supplemented with a mixture of soybean meal and corn (16% protein, of which 40% by-pass) or fishmeal, soybean meal and corn supplement (19% protein, of which 80% by-pass), at a rate of 1% of body weight per day. Grazing, parasitized twin-rearing ewes were either not supplemented, or fed xylose-treated soybean meal (44% protein, of which 62% by-pass protein), at a rate of 400 g/head/day. RESULTS: The undrenched lambs supplemented with the 16% protein supplement grew at the same rate as the non-supplemented, drenched lambs, despite having greater worm burdens. The 19% protein supplement reduced FEC by 50% and increased growth by 25%. Maternal supplementation reduced ewe FEC by 40%, increased lamb growth by 20% and reduced lamb AH usage by 33%, without impacting lamb FEC. CONCLUSIONS: These studies support the view that by-pass protein supplementation can reduce reliance on AH and maintain or improve ovine resilience and resistance to gastrointestinal nematode parasites.
Other Titles/Title of Conference
13th ICOPA: International Conference of Parasitology, Mexico City, Mexico
International Congress of Parasitology