Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sericea lespedeza vs. coccidia

The consumption of sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) has been shown to reduce barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) infection in sheep and goats, but does it have an effect on coccidia (Eimeria spp.)?  Researchers in the southeastern United States conducted three experiments to answer this question.

Sericea lespedeza
In experiment 1, 76 weaned, naturally-infected lambs were divided into treatment groups and fed either alfalfa pellets or sericea lespedeza (SL), with or without amprolium added to their drinking water. In experiment 2, twin-rearing ewes were divided into two groups and their naturally-infected lambs were fed either a creep control supplement (n=40) or sericea lespedeza pellets (n=32). In experiment 3, lambs were randomly assigned to a control (n=12) or sericea lespedeza diet (n=12) and inoculated three times with 50,000 sporulated coccidial oocysts.

In experiment 1, fecal oocyst counts declined more rapidly in amprolium-treated lambs following weaning. Fecal scores were higher in the control lambs compared with the SL-fed lambs, suggesting more signs of coccidiosis in control lambs. In experiment 2, oocyst counts were similar initially, but were reduced in SL-fed lambs by weaning and remained lower thereafter. Dag and fecal scores were similar before weaning, but lower in SL-fed lambs by weaning and remained lower thereafter. No SL lambs required treatment for coccidiosis, whereas 33% of control lambs required treatment. In experiment 3, oocyst counts were reduced in SL compared with control fed lambs.

The researchers determined sericea lespedeza to be effective in the prevention and control of coccidiosis and concluded that the use of SL could reduce lamb losses (due to coccidiosis) post-weaning, reduce the need to treat for coccidiosis, and create a significant economic benefit to producers.

Source:  Veterinary Parasitology. December 2012.

Read abstract at ScienceDirect.com

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