Innovative parasite control in ruminants

by Editor
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Since February 2006 the development of sustainable, low input methods for internal parasite control in ruminants has been researched.

The international research project Parasol (Parasite Solutions) has been funded for a period of three years by the European Union Framework 6 Program. The project is coordinated by Professor Jozef Vercruysse of the University of Gent. Twelve academic institutions and five business ventures from seven EU-countries as well as Africa are being involved.

In September 2007 a meeting of all the Parasol participants took place in Naples for the purpose of presenting and reviewing the research findings to date. The aim of the Parasol-Project is to reduce the amount of anthelmintics used for the control of gastro-intestinal worms in ruminants by means of developing new treatment methods that are following the principles of Target Selective Treatments (TSTs).

Using this approach it may be possible to limit the development of anthelmintic resistance, which is an issue for livestock producers throughout the world. This approach is very different to current whole herd treatment strategies and relies upon being able to identify those animals which will most benefit from treatment.

Researchers in participating countries with very different production systems and parasite problems have examined a range of parasitological and production parameters that can be used to direct TSTs. The research to date has led to the development of some improved diagnostic techniques that can be used in conjunction with parasitological and/or performance data to selectively target anthelmintic treatments.

Professor Vercruysse, the project co-ordinator, has described the various ways in which the PARASOL project has already begun to disseminate its research findings to the livestock industry. Further information about the project, its progress and developments, together with details of all the project-partners and lists of publications are available on the Parasol-Website