Concern as new research exposes anthelmintic resistance on dairy calf to beef farms

New research from Teagasc has found anthelmintic resistance on Irish dairy calf to beef farms.

Anthelmintic resistance has been reported to be common on sheep farms internationally and recent research in Ireland has shown widespread anthelmintic treatment failure on sheep farms, with 49pc of anthelmintic treatments administered to lambs considered ineffective.

However, the prevalence of anthelmintic resistance on cattle farms was unknown.

Irish beef production is pasture based, with grazing animals naturally exposed to gastrointestinal nematodes.

Infection in calves can result in ill-thrift, with subclinical infection resulting in reduced growth rate.

After their first grazing season cattle generally develop sufficient immunity to prevent clinical disease.

Control of gastrointestinal nematodes in cattle is usually achieved by the administration of broad-spectrum anthelmintics.

There are currently three classes of anthelmintic licensed for the control of gastrointestinal nematodes in cattle: benzimidazole; levamisole; and, macrocyclic lactone.