The effect of dietary protein on the pathogenesis of acute ovine haemonchosis

Veterinary Parasitology
E M AbbottP H Holmes


Two experiments were conducted to examine the influence of dietary protein on parasite establishment and pathogenesis in Finn Dorset/Dorset Horn lambs infected with Haemonchus contortus. The lambs were introduced to high (169 g) or low (88 g crude protein (CP) kg-1 dry matter (DM)) protein diets at 3 months of age and infected 1 month later with 350 larvae kg-1 body weight (BW). Blood and faecal samples were collected for analysis and body weights recorded weekly. In the first experiment some of the infected lambs were killed 6 weeks after infection and the remainder 5 weeks later. In the second experiment all the infected lambs were killed 4 weeks after infection. The results showed that lambs on a low protein diet were less able to withstand the pathogenic effects of infection with 350 H. contortus larvae kg-1 BW than lambs given the higher protein diet. Thus mortality was greater in the low protein group and adverse clinical signs, such as inappetence, weight loss and oedema were observed more frequently. This group also had a more severe anaemia, hypoproteinaemia and hypoalbuminaemia than the high protein group. In contrast, faecal egg counts, total daily faecal egg output and worm burdens were similar in all groups of infe...Continue Reading


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