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Resistance of four sheep breeds to natural and subsequent artificial Haemonchus contortus infection

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Health & Diseases
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Biological & environmental
Bain, R.K.; Duncan, J.L.; Ihiga, M.A.; Mugambi, J.M.; Murray, M.; Stear, M.J.; Wanyangu, S.W.
National Veterinary Research Centre, Kikuyu, Kenya

The response of Red Maasai sheep to natural and artificial Haemonchus contortus infections was compared with sheep of Blackheaded Somali, Dorper and Romney Marsh breeds. Significant breed differences in egg count, packed cell volume (PCV), and mortality rates showed that the Red Maasai sheep were more resistant to natural H. contortus infection than sheep from the other three breeds. Of the initial groups of 15 wethers of each breed, two animals from each of the Dorper and Blackheaded Somali groups and nine from the Romney Marsh group died with heamonchosis during a 12 month field study. Following artificial infection of the Red Maasai, Dorpers and Blackheaded Somalis, with 10 000 H. contortus L3, the Red Maasai sheep maintained a lower egg output and a higher PCV than animals of the other two breeds. The results clearly showed that breed substitution with the Red Maasai is a control option in areas where sheep are kept for meat and H. contortus is endemic.