Thursday, May 23, 2013

DE Not Recommended For Parasite Control

Diatomaceous earth (DE), the skeletal remains of single-cell algae, is often touted as an effective and alternative anthelmintic for sheep, goats, and other livestock. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support its use.

Diatomaceous earth
At North Carolina A&T State University, a study was conducted (in 2009) to determine the effect of DE on goats naturally infected with internal parasites (primarily Haemonchus contortus, Eimeria, and Trichostrongylus spp.). Twenty Spanish and Spanish x Boer females (avg. 88 lb.) were randomly assigned to four treatment groups.

For eight days the goats were treated with DE at different concentrations:  Group 1, 1.77 g DE; Group 2, 3.54 g DE; and Group 3, 5.31 g DE. The DE was mixed with 150 ml of sterile water and administered as a drench.  Goats in Group 4 were drenched with sterile water and served as untreated controls.

Body weights, fecal egg counts, packed cell volume, and white and red blood cell counts were measured weekly for six weeks. Over the course of the study, increases in fecal egg counts were observed. Packed cell volumes decreased in all groups. All groups exhibited increases in WBC and decreases in RBC counts. An anthelmintic effect of DE was not observed.

The results of this study were consistent with other published and unpublished studies:  1) DE does not have an effect on parasite loads as measured by eggs per gram of feces; and 2) DE does not reduce anemia as measured by packed cell volume.

Source: The Effects of Diatomaceous Earth on Parasite Infected Goats. Bulletin of the Georgian Academy of  Sciences. 2009.

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