WASHINGTON, December 9, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Research Service (ARS) today announced a groundbreaking treatment that prevents anemia, weight loss, poor wool and meat production, and even death in sheep.
ARS researchers partnered with Virginia Tech and the University of Massachusetts' Medical School to solve H. contortus parasite infection, which also happens to be the number one health problem in the U.S. sheep industry. The parasite infects the stomach of ruminant mammals, feeding and interfering with digestion, before ultimately affecting the animal's overall health and stability.
"The H. contortus parasite has developed resistance to virtually all known classes of anti-parasitic drugs," said ARS Researcher Dr. Joseph Urban, who lead the research team in testing and implementation of a para-probiotic treatment to kill the parasite that causes H.contortus.
The worm parasite mates within the animal and its fertilized eggs pass through the animal's waste into the soil. The larvae then develop to re-infect other unsuspecting animals, spreading the infection throughout a pasture and creating a cycle of infection that hinders animal growth, development and production.
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