SEFARI Blog Nematodirus battus: Is it likely to spiral out of control?

Lynsey Melville, Dave Bartley and Giles Innocent

Farming practices are evolving in response to intensification, diversification and climate change. As farm management has changed, pathogens of livestock have also adapted to optimise their reproduction and transmission opportunities. Our work, supported by Animal and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), has focused on the control and biology of the economically important roundworm Nematodirus battus; a gut roundworm which annually threatens the health and welfare of young lambs across the UK. Our research has explored how Nematodirus behaves on commercial sheep farms. We have mapped the emergence of resistance to the chemical most commonly used in the control and treatment of this roundworm; investigating the factors involved in the parasite’s egg hatching (important for disease transmission and thought to be one factor involved in the changing disease pattern seen in the UK) and explored how farm management practices might influence this roundworm’s behaviour, all in an attempt to learn how to control the roundworm more effectively.

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