Research Article

Population biology of Ostertagia ostertagi and anthelmintic strategies against ostertagiasis in calves

G. Smitha1 p1, B. T. Grenfella1 p2, R. M. Andersona1 and J. Beddingtona1 p3

a1 Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Imperial College, London University, London SW7 2BB


Five chemoprophylactic or chemotherapeutic strategies against bovine ostertagiasis are compared using a mathematical model of the population biology of Ostertagia ostertagi. The model offers a means of screening novel strategies prior to their further investigation in the field. Under conditions of climate and management typical of many regions in Northern temperate Europe, the model indicates that all of the tested prophylactic strategies will result in a profound reduction in the intensity of infection in grazing beef calves when compared with an untreated control group or the simple therapeutic protocol. Not all of those strategies which caused diminution in the scale of the midsummer rise in pasture larval contamination resulted in progressively less contaminated pastures in subsequent years. Moreover, the reproductive potential of the parasite is so great that the principal advantage of the ‘pasture cleaning’ effect that is the consequence of some protocols is not that the pasture may eventually be used to graze untreated calves but that the treated animals are subjected to a progressively smaller parasitic challenge with the concomitant pay-off in production gains.

(Accepted March 02 1987)


p1 Present address: Section of Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton Center, Kennett Square, PA 19348, USA.

p2 Present address and address for reprint requests: Department of Zoology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN.

p3 Present address: Centre for Environmental Technology, Imperial College, London University, London SW7 1LU.