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Article

Seroprevalence of Major Pasture-Borne Parasitoses (Gastrointestinal Nematodes, Liver Flukes and Lungworms) in German Dairy Cattle Herds, Association with Management Factors and Impact on Production Parameters

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Centre for Infection Medicine, Institute for Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hanover, Germany
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Department of Biometry, Epidemiology and Information Processing (IBEI), WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training for Health at the Human-Animal-Environment Interface, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hanover, Germany
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Clinic for Ruminants with Ambulatory and Herd Health Services, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, 85764 Oberschleißheim, Germany
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Clinic for Ruminants and Swine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Free University of Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
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Clinic for Cattle, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30173 Hanover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Maria Teresa Manfredi, Alessia L. Gazzonis, Michele Mortarino, Luca Villa and Sergio Zanzani
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072078
Received: 28 June 2021 / Revised: 8 July 2021 / Accepted: 9 July 2021 / Published: 12 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasitic Diseases of Cattle)
Pasture-borne worm infections impact cattle health and productivity worldwide. The present study assessed exposure of dairy cattle herds to the three most important pastural parasites, i.e., gastrointestinal worms, liver flukes and lungworms, in three parts of Germany by measuring antibodies in bulk tank milk samples. The results show a high level of exposure to gastrointestinal worms, while antibodies against liver flukes were less frequently detected and lungworm-positive herds were rare. Regional and breed differences regarding parasite exposure were detected. In addition, the presence of antibodies was associated with access to fresh grass, access to hay, silage quality and deworming frequency. Furthermore, parasite exposure was significantly associated with a poor body condition across all regions. Parasite-exposed cows of high-performance breeds also produced on average less milk per year than dual-purpose breeds.
Pasture-borne parasites adversely affect bovine health and productivity worldwide. In Europe, gastrointestinal nematodes, especially Ostertagia ostertagi, the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica and the lungworm Dictyocaulus viviparus represent the most important parasites of dairy cattle. The present study assessed exposure towards these parasites among 646 cattle herds in three parts of Germany during 2017–2019 via antibody detection in bulk tank milk (BTM). Overall, O. ostertagi levels indicative of production losses were detected in 41.2% (266/646; 95% confidence interval (CI): 37.4–45.1%) of BTM samples, while F. hepatica seroprevalence amounted to 14.9% (96/646; 95% CI: 12.2–17.9%). Only 2.3% (15/646; 95% CI: 1.4–3.9%) of samples were D. viviparus antibody-positive. Significantly lower O. ostertagi as well as F. hepatica seroprevalence was detected in dual-purpose breeds compared to high-performance breeds from the same region. Management factors related to parasite exposure included access to fresh grass and hay, silage quality and anthelmintic treatment. Furthermore, F. hepatica and O. ostertagi seropositivity was significantly associated with suboptimal herd-level body condition. Interestingly, the relationship between seropositivity and productivity differed between breed types. Negative impacts on milk yield were detected only in high-performance breeds, while O. ostertagi seropositivity was associated with a lower milk fat content in dual-purpose herds. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ostertagia ostertagi; trichostrongyles; Fasciola hepatica; Dictyocaulus viviparus; bovine lungworm; bulk tank milk; ELISA; prevalence; milk production; Germany Ostertagia ostertagi; trichostrongyles; Fasciola hepatica; Dictyocaulus viviparus; bovine lungworm; bulk tank milk; ELISA; prevalence; milk production; Germany
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MDPI and ACS Style

Springer, A.; Jordan, D.; Kirse, A.; Schneider, B.; Campe, A.; Knubben-Schweizer, G.; Müller, K.E.; Hoedemaker, M.; Strube, C. Seroprevalence of Major Pasture-Borne Parasitoses (Gastrointestinal Nematodes, Liver Flukes and Lungworms) in German Dairy Cattle Herds, Association with Management Factors and Impact on Production Parameters. Animals 2021, 11, 2078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072078

AMA Style

Springer A, Jordan D, Kirse A, Schneider B, Campe A, Knubben-Schweizer G, Müller KE, Hoedemaker M, Strube C. Seroprevalence of Major Pasture-Borne Parasitoses (Gastrointestinal Nematodes, Liver Flukes and Lungworms) in German Dairy Cattle Herds, Association with Management Factors and Impact on Production Parameters. Animals. 2021; 11(7):2078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072078

Chicago/Turabian Style

Springer, Andrea, Daniela Jordan, Alina Kirse, Bettina Schneider, Amely Campe, Gabriela Knubben-Schweizer, Kerstin E. Müller, Martina Hoedemaker, and Christina Strube. 2021. "Seroprevalence of Major Pasture-Borne Parasitoses (Gastrointestinal Nematodes, Liver Flukes and Lungworms) in German Dairy Cattle Herds, Association with Management Factors and Impact on Production Parameters" Animals 11, no. 7: 2078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072078

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