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Protein reduces parasitism in ewes

Mexican researchers carried out a study to to evaluate the effect of energy and protein supplementation on the parasitological and hematological response during peripartum and lactation of productive and non-productive Pelibuey ewes in a tropical environment.

Forty-eight Pelibuey ewes aged 3–5 years and with a body weight of 31 ± 5 kg (77 ± 11 lb.) were used. Four groups of 12 ewes, including non-pregnant and productive ewes, were formed. Two levels of energy (9.6 MJ/kg vs. 10.1 MJ/kg) and protein (8 vs. 15%) were fed. Fecal and blood samples were collected.

The high dietary protein level had a significant effect on reducing the FEC and increasing the PCV of ewes during lactation, in comparison with animals fed with the low protein level. Differences in the study variables were attributed to physiological stage. Lactating ewes showed the highest FEC values (2709 ± 359 EPG), the lowest PCV values (21.9 ± 0.7%) and the lowest EOS (0.59 ± 0.6 Cells × 103 µL). The non-productive ewes maintained a certain resilience and resistance to gastrointestinal parasites compared to the ewes in production.

High levels of dietary protein improved the natural resistance of ewes during peripartum rise under grazing conditions by decreasing the fecal egg count peak and helping ewes to maintain their packed cell volume levels. The most critical weeks were those corresponding to the last third of gestation and the first weeks of lactation. Source: Pathogens. 2022 Aug 19

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