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Anthelmintic-resistant nematodes in Irish commercial sheep flocks- the state of play

Barbara Good1*, James Patrick Hanrahan1, Daniel Theodorus de Waal2, Thomas Patten13, Andrew Kinsella4 and Ciaran Oliver Lynch1

Author Affiliations

1 Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Co. Galway, Athenry, Ireland

2 MedicineUCD Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, School of Veterinary, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

3 UCD Veterinary Sciences Centre, Walsh fellow student previously based at University College Dublin, School of Veterinary Medicine, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

4 Teagasc, Coolruss, Tinahely Co.Wicklow, Ireland

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Irish Veterinary Journal 2012, 65:21  doi:10.1186/2046-0481-65-21

Published: 22 December 2012


Anthelmintic resistance has been reported in most sheep producing countries. Prior to the mid 1990s, reports of anthelmintic resistance in Ireland were sparse and focused on benzimidazole, one of the three classes of anthelmintic available during this period. This evidence for efficacy issues on Irish farms combined with awareness that anthelmintic resistance was increasingly being reported in other countries prompted the need for more comprehensive investigations on Irish farms. Faecal egg count reduction and micro-agar larval development tests were employed to investigate resistance to benzimidazole, levamisole and macrocyclic lactone. There is compelling evidence for resistance to both benzimidazole (>88% of flocks) and levamisole (>39% of flocks). Resistance of nematode populations to macrocyclic lactone was suspected on a small number of farms (11%) but needs to be confirmed. The recent introduction of two new classes of anthelmintics, after over a 25 year interval, together with the evidence that anthelmintic resistance is reported within a relatively short time following the introduction of a new anthelmintic compound means that the challenge to the industry is immediate. Actions are urgently required to manage anthelmintic resistance so as to prolong the lifespan of anthelmintics.

Anthelmintic resistance; Nematodes; Sheep Ireland; Benzimidazole; Levamizole; Ivermectin; MALDT; FECRT