Excretion of Eimeria spp. oocysts in young lambs following iron supplementation

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
Ane OddenSnorre Stuen


Iron is an essential nutrient, and iron supplementation has been shown to reduce the incidence of abomasal bloat in lambs. Additionally, iron deficiency is linked to pica, which may increase uptake of Eimeria oocysts. Coccidiosis in sheep, caused by Eimeria spp., is an important infection, leading to reduced welfare and economic losses. The aims of our study were to investigate: (1) the use of iron supplementation in Norwegian sheep flocks using a questionnaire survey, and (2) whether iron supplementation reduced excretion of Eimeria oocysts and increased the growth rates of young lambs. A questionnaire regarding the use of iron supplementation, sent to all members of the Norwegian Sheep Recording System (n = 4993), showed that 152/1823 farmers iron-supplemented lambs, either orally (56.7%) or by injection (43.3%). The main purpose of supplementation was to prevent abomasal bloat (38.4%), coccidiosis (9.3%), or both (27.8%). In the field study, 102 twin lambs from five flocks were included: one twin (treated) received 600 mg of gleptoferron subcutaneously within 3 days of birth, whereas the control was given saline. McMaster analysis of individual faecal samples obtained at weekly intervals (n = 4 per lamb, starting at turnout)...Continue Reading


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