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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Gastrointestinal parasites of captive European bison Bison bonasus (L.) with a sign of reduced efficacy of Haemonchus contortus to fenbendazole

Pyziel, Anna M.; Bjorck, Sven; Wiklund, Rikard; Skarin, Moa; Demiaszkiewicz, Aleksander W.; Hoglund, Johan


The history of European bison Bison bonasus Linnaeus, 1758 has been stormy since its extinction in the wild after the First World War. Due to the fact that the species was restored from just 12 founders, further expansion has suffered from low genetic variability, rendering the bison vulnerable to various pathogens due to inbreeding depression. Parasites are recognised as a key biological threat to bison population. Thus, parasitological examination including monitoring of the level of anthelmintic resistance in a herd should be a routine procedure involved in management and protection of European bison. This study was conducted in a group of 27 bison kept in a European bison breeding centre in Sweden. In April 2015, a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) was performed in animals with 100 gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) eggs per gram faeces, to determine effectiveness of fenbendazole (FBZ) treatment. Additionally, the third stage larvae were cultured for molecular examination by a conventional PCR as well as by real-time quantitative PCR (q-PCR) for detection of the blood-sucking nematode Haemonchus contortus. Faecal sampling was conducted 1 day before and 8 days after deworming each animal. Anthelmintic treatment turned to be entirely efficient toward intestinal nematodes of genera Nematodirus and Trichuris, whereas shedding of strongylid eggs from the subfamily Ostertagiinae was reduced from 81 to 30%. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on cultured third-stage larvae (L3) before treatment was positive for H. contortus, Ostertagia ostertagi and Cooperia oncophora, whereas post-treatment examination revealed exclusively the DNA of H. contortus. Thus, only H. contortus was involved in post-treatment faecal egg count (FEC). FECRT showed that the reduction in strongylid FEC to FBZ in the examined bison herd was 87% (95%-confidence intervals [95% CI] = 76-93), suggesting reduced efficacy of FBZ to strongylid GIN including mainly H. contortus.


Fenbendazole; Faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT); Anthelmintic resistance; Nematodes; Coccidia; European bison; Bison bonasus

Published in

Parasitology Research
2018, Volume: 117, number: 1, pages: 295-302
Publisher: SPRINGER