Endoparasites in calves of beef cattle herds: Management systems dependent and genetic influences
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Prevalences and intensities of excretion of faecal stages of Giardia duodenalis, Cryptosporidium parvum, Eimeria spp., Strongyloides papillosus and strongyles were determined in a German upland area in German Angus (GA) and German Simmental (GS) suckler of beef cattle herds covering two winter housing periods and the grazing season between them. Influences of the housing systems applied (maintenance on deep litter with (DL+) and without run-out (DL-), on slatted floor (SF) or by winter run-out yarding (WO)), breed differences and genetic influences by the sire were determined by statistical analyses; levels of IgG antibodies to E. bovis antigen were measured by ELISA. G. duodenalis was observed with a maximum prevalence of 38% in 4 weeks old calves, a cumulative incidence of 58% 9 weeks after birth and with generally low intensities. C parvum infections were relatively rare with cumulative incidences of 20-25% in week 5 after birth. Highest prevalences were associated with housing system DL- and a long-lasting calving period. Cumulative incidence of Eimeria spp. was almost 100%. E. bovis predominated by far followed by E. ellipsoidalislzuernii. Mean maximum intensity of 1000 OpG occurred in week 7 after birth. Up to an age of the calves of 7 weeks > 75% of all oocysts belonged to E. bovis. Prevalences and excretion intensities were lowest under the housing conditions SF and WO. Maternal antibodies in calves to E. bovis antigen were directly and inversely correlated with mean OpG values in GA and GS calves, respectively. S. papillosus was common with a cumulative incidence of 53% 9 weeks after birth and occurred independent of the housing system. Mean strongyle egg prevalence was 50% with 50-100 EpG by means throughout the grazing season. Egg excretion intensity in the early months of grazings was correlated with the age of the calves at turnout to pasture. Under the conditions of housing system DL- GA calves could better control S. papillosus infections than GS calves whereas the latter were generally more effective in controlling the protozoa. Results of ANCOVA suggest significant paternal influences on S. papillosus infections in both breeds and on the protozoal infections in GA calves. The former could be disclosed independent of the housing system whereas environmental factors played an important role in the latter cases. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.