Modelling the faecal worm egg count curve during the periparturient period in Uruguayan Merino sheep
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research
Disease caused by gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) is one of the main constraints for sheep production worldwide. Although adult categories are more resistant to GIN, a temporary loss of acquired immunity is presented around parturition, which results in the so-called "periparturient rise" (PPR) in fecal excretion of GIN eggs. The objective of the present work was to study the dynamic of the PPR and to model the faecal worm egg count (FEC) curve during the periparturient period in Uruguayan
... od in Uruguayan Merino sheep. Faecal samples were collected from lambing ewes during 2009 and 2010 parturitions. FEC and infective larvae cultures of each sampling were recorded. A total of 2,121 records from 748 ewes, the progeny of 107 sires, were used in the statistical analysis. FEC data were normalized using two logarithmic transformations: Log FEC = Log e (FEC + 100) and Log FEC_st (Log FEC with the variance standardized within contemporary group). Three functions were compared to shape the PPR curve. Haemonchus spp. was the most prevalent parasite. Log FEC_st was the selected response variable of the model, for its better adjustment to a normal distribution and a more homogeneous residual variance. The fixed regression model with Legendre polynomials was the selected one, based on the selection model criteria (Akaike & Schwarz Bayesian Information Criteria). The highest egg output was observed between two and four weeks post-lambing. In conclusion, the PPR observed in Uruguayan Merino lambing ewes had the maximum egg output matched with the milk production peak.