With the increasing challenge of lungworm and other parasites on Irish farms, people are looking for solutions. However, understanding what you are using is the only way to make an informed decision. Traditionally, farmers turned to pour-on anthelmintics for parasite control, however, they should be aware that pour-on formulations have disadvantages in some key areas.
Anthelmintic resistance is the heritable (and therefore genetic) ability of the parasitic worms to survive treatment with an anthelmintic. A worm is said to be resistant if it survives exposure to the standard recommended dose of the Anthelmintic. Anthelmintic resistance is said to exist in a population of worms if more than 5% of the worms survive treatment. However, you may not notice the increasing lack of effectiveness of treatment until 50% or more of the worms survive, at which point the animals are clearly not being effectively de-wormed and production losses are significant. Anthelmintic resistance is a serious problem and one which threatens farming. To protect Anthelmintic drug efficacies, codes of practice are being put in place.
Inaccurate dosing or sub-dosing is a leading cause of Anthelmintic resistance as it exposes parasites to sub-therapeutic amounts of the drug thus enabling them to develop resistance more readily to these lower doses. Pour-on products carry an increased risk variability in dosing due to licking and other extrinsic factors (Laffont et al. 2001). For this reason, new regulations and practices are being introduced to safeguard anthelmintic use and efficacy for the future. The Euro EMA/CVMP/EWP/573536/2013 cites “… pour-on formulations pose a particular risk.”
Licking results in non-target animals having highly variable exposures to Anthelmintics. This then causes the non-target animals to have unintended plasma drug levels and corresponding partial efficacy doses. Using a pour-on Anthelmintic promotes drug exchange through licking. This can result in increased incidences of sub-therapeutic dosing, thereby promoting anthelmintic resistance (Bousquet et al. 2011).
Eprecis is best placed to meet the demands of new anthelmintic practices and regulations as it is a highly accurate and precise treatment which allows the farmer to be in control. Eprecis is a subcutaneous injection which is not impacted by licking, weather or skin conditions and allows for the selective/targeted treatment of individual cows. As it is an injection and has a higher bioavailability, there is less product waste and environmental impact.
Bousquet-Mélou, A., Jacquiet, P., Hoste, H., Clément, J., Bergeaud, J.P., Alvinerie, M. and Toutain, P.L., 2011. Licking behaviour induces partial anthelmintic efficacy of ivermectin pour-on formulation in untreated cattle. International journal for parasitology, 41(5), pp.563-569
Laffont, C.M., Alvinerie, M., Bousquet-Mélou, A. and Toutain, P.L., 2001. Licking behaviour and environmental contamination arising from pour-on ivermectin for cattle. International journal for parasitology, 31(14), pp.1687-1692.