Evaluation of Haemonchus contortus infections in sexually intact and ovariectomized ewes.

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Three experiments were conducted to investigate experimentally the occurrence of periparturient nematode egg rise in ewes and the hormonal modulation of Haemonchus contortus infections. In the first experiment, fall-bred and winter-bred pregnant (n = 4 and 14, respectively) and nonpregnant (n = 5 and 29, respectively) ewes were treated with anthelmintic and were pastured together on fields that were contaminated with H contortus. Three weeks before lambing, all ewes were placed in concrete pens; fecal egg counts for the winter-bred group were obtained on alternate days. Pregnant and lactating ewes had significantly larger numbers (P less than 0.01) of H contortus eggs than did the nonpregnant controls 1 week before and after lambing. Lactating, fall-bred ewes had significantly (P less than 0.01) more adult worms in their abomasum through natural acquisition than the nonpregnant controls. In the second experiment, fall-bred and winter-bred, helminth-free, pregnant (n = 4 and 8, respectively) and nonpregnant (n = 3 and 15, respectively) ewes were inoculated on 5 alternate days, beginning 70 days after breeding with 20,000 infective H contortus larvae. The ewes were maintained on concrete pens throughout pregnancy. Fecal egg counts were significantly (P less than 0.05) greater in pregnant ewes, beginning 1 week before lambing until 1 week after lambing. Abomasums of lactating ewes from both lambing seasons yielded significantly (P less than 0.01) more adult worms at necropsy than nonpregnant ewes. In the third experiment, ewes were ovariectomized (n = 15) or sham-operated (n = 9); half of the control ewes were bred.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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American Journal of Veterinary Research





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