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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2001

A field survey on the status of internal parasites in calves on organic dairy farms in southwestern Sweden

Höglund, Johan; Svensson, Catarina; Hessle, Anna


Infections with internal parasites are one of the most important causes of reduced productivity in first-grazing season cattle (FGSC). In conventional herds, nematode infections can be controlled by prophylactic anthelmintic treatments, but this is prohibited in organic production. The purpose of this investigation was to monitor the status of internal parasitism on 15 organic cattle enterprises in southwestern Sweden during the 1997 and 1998 grazing seasons, and to estimate the benefits of some management practices in parasite control. On each farm, the numbers of Eimeria alabamensis oocysts per gram of (opg) faeces were counted in seven fresh dung pats collected from the paddock 8-10 days after the turnout of FGSC. Faecal samples from 5 to 15 FGSC were also analysed for nematode eggs per gram (epg) faeces at four occasions during each grazing season. In addition, the FGSC and one group of second-grazing season cattle (SGSC) were weighed at turnout and housing and at the same time blood samples were collected, and analysed for serum pepsinogen concentration and antibodies against the lungworm, Dictyocaulus viviparus. On seven farms, 1-6 samples with more than 100 000 opg were found, indicating considerable pasture contamination by E. alabamensis. However, clinical signs of coccidiosis were not observed. The highest outputs of nematode eggs were observed 45-55 days after turnout. More than 500 epg were only observed in 12 (2.2%) of the calves in 1997 and in three (0.6%) animals in 1998. Only 1 % of the serum samples had pepsinogen values exceeding 3.6 U tyrosine, indicative of subclinical Ostertagia ostertagi infection. Lungworm infection was detected in five and nine herds in 1997 and 1998, respectively. The number of seropositive animals on these farms ranged between one (10%) and seven (70%). Clinical signs of dictyocaulosis were observed on two farms. The results indicate that dictyocaulosis is a problem inorganic dairy herds in Sweden. On the other hand, the study shows that good management such as usage of parasite safe pastures and supplementary feeding may help control gastrointestinal parasites. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


cattle; Ostertagia spp.; Cooperia spp.; Dictyocaulus viviparus; Eimeria spp.; organic farming; control methods

Publicerad i

Veterinary Parasitology
2001, Volym: 99, nummer: 2, sidor: 113-128

      SLU författare

    • Höglund, Johan

      • Institutionen för veterinärmedicinsk mikrobiologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
      • Sveriges Veterinärmedicinska Anstalt (SVA)