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To treat or not to treat : diagnostic thresholds in subclinical helminth infections of cattle

Journal Contribution - Review Article

Helminth infections of cattle place significant burdens on livestock production and farm economic efficiency. Heavy infections are relatively easy to detect and treat with anthelmintics. However, subclinical infections have major but often hidden impacts on animals, necessitating more refined diagnostics to detect them and ideally inform farmers about the likely impact of anthelmintic treatment on animal and herd performance. Here, we review recent advances in diagnosing three major cattle helminth infections - gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs), liver flukes, and lungworms - and the search for subclinical infection thresholds to guide treatment decisions. Combining refined diagnostic thresholds with farm-specific information on grazing systems and animal history enables farmers to tailor helminth treatments to specific epidemiological circumstances, thereby limiting anthelmintic resistance (AR) and boosting agricultural efficiency and food security.
ISSN: 1471-5007
Issue: 2
Volume: 39
Pages: 139 - 151
Publication year:2023