Field trials evaluating ivermectin controlled-release capsules for weaner sheep and for breeding ewes.
Author(s): Allerton GR, Gogolewski RP, Rugg D, Plue RE, Barrick RA, Eagleson JS
Affiliation(s): Merial Australia Pty Ltd., Ingleburn, New South Wales.
Publication date & source: 1998-01, Aust Vet J., 76(1):39-43.
Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial
OBJECTIVE: To confirm the efficacy of ivermectin released from a controlled-release capsule administered to young sheep and to breeding ewes under field conditions. DESIGN: Randomised field trials. PROCEDURE: In each of ten field trials 25 weaned lambs were treated with ivermectin controlled-release capsules and 25 remained untreated. Eight similar field trials were conducted using adult ewes. Efficacy against infections of gastrointestinal nematodes was assessed by faecal egg counts and faecal larval culture. Body weights were recorded and faecal soiling of the breech wool (dags) was assessed. RESULTS: Nematode faecal egg counts in the two groups were not different (P = 0.13) before treatment in the weaner trials or before treatment in the ewe trials (P = 0.49), but thereafter eggs in the untreated sheep persisted, whereas counts in sheep given capsules were negligible (P < or = 0.01). In the weaner trials, dag scores for the two groups were not different at the start of the trials (P = 0.18) but at the end, untreated sheep had significantly more dags (P = 0.04) than treated sheep. In the ewe trials, dag scores remained low in both groups. Weaners treated with the capsule gained 1.4 kg (95% CL: 0.7, 3.1) more weight over the 16 week trial period compared to untreated weaners (P = 0.01). Both groups of ewes lost weight as a result of parturition but the mean loss by week 16 was greater for untreated (3.7 kg) (95% CL: -5.1, -2.2) than for treated ewes (1.8 kg) (95% CL: -3.3, -0.4). The mean change in ewe body weight for the two groups was however not significant (P = 0.07). Differentiation of nematode larvae recovered from cultures of faeces from untreated animals indicated that the capsules were effective against the common parasites of sheep. CONCLUSION: The capsule was efficacious against gastrointestinal nematodes judging from faecal egg counts. It has the potential to significantly reduce contamination of pasture with nematode eggs. Treated weaners had less dags for 16 weeks and gained more weight than untreated weaners.