Parasite intervention in organic sheep flocks

Senast ändrad: 21 april 2017

The aim is to study the dynamic interaction between host and parasite populations in order to develop decision support tool for targeted anthelmintic treatments of gastro-intestinal nematodes (GIN), in organic sheep flocks.

Swedish organic lamb production is characterized by high standards of animal welfare and low use of medication. However, it is also recognized that it is difficult to carry on pasture-based organic lamb production without use of dewormers (anthelmintics). Experiences from Swedish farms show that gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) causing severe pathology and illness in sheep are problematic to control without taking advantage of anthelmintic drugs. How to effectively monitor and combat GIN in Swedish organic lamb production of today is largely unexplored. In this project we are going to investigate and develop a risk-based methodology for GIN control by gathering sequential data on the infection dynamics from organic sheep flocks. The project outcomes will ultimately lead to targeted treatments (TT). This is a novel medication strategy where anthelmintics are used meanwhile animals are grazing on diversity-rich natural grasslands, but only after diagnosis of infection. Thus, usage of dewormers will be minimized but not at the expense of decreased animal health or welfare. Since the use of anthelmintics is preceded by diagnosis the TT method is accepted according to the organic production guidelines in Sweden.

The project is funded by SLU-Ekoforsk until 2019

Project leader: Johan Höglund

Collaborators: Katarina Gustafsson (Farm & Animal Health), Bitte Ljungström (Vidilab)