Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research CenterTitle: Use of pelleted sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) for natural control of coccidia and gastrointestinal nematodes in weaned goats) Author
Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2014
Publication Date: 1/15/2014
Citation: Kommuru, D.S., Barker, T., Desai, S., Burke, J.M., Ramsay, A., Mueller-Harvey, I., Miller, J.E., Mosjidis, J.A., Kamisetti, N., Terrill, T.H. 2014. Use of pelleted sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) for natural control of coccidia and gastrointestinal nematodes in weaned goats. Veterinary Parasitology. 204:191-198. Interpretive Summary: Coccidiosis is one of the most economically devastating parasitic diseases of small ruminants. This protozoan disease is an infection of Eimeria spp. of the gastrointestinal tract that can cause diarrhea, dehydration, inappetence, weight loss, and death of young animals. Sericea lespedeza (SL) pellets have been reported to control gastrointestinal parasites, but no data existed on control of Eimeria spp in goat kids. Scientists at USDA, ARS in Booneville, AR, Louisiana State University, Fort Valley State University, GA, and Auburn University determined that feeding SL pellets controlled coccidiosis and reduced need for pharmaceutical treatment of the disease. This information is important to organic and conventional small ruminant producers, extension agents, and scientists.
Technical Abstract: Infection with Eimeria spp. (coccidia) can be devastating in goats, particularly for young, recently-weaned kids, resulting in diarrhea, dehydration, and even death. Feeding dried sericea lespedeza [SL; Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours.) G. Don.] to young goats has been reported to reduce the effects of internal parasites, including gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) but there have been no reports of the effects of feeding this forage on Eimeria spp. in goats. Two confinement feeding experiments were completed on recently-weaned intact bucks (24 Kiko-cross, Exp. 1; 20 Spanish, Exp. 2) to determine effects of SL pellets on an established infection of GIN and coccidia. The bucks were assigned to 1 of 2 (Exp. 1) or 3 (Exp. 2) treatment groups based upon the number of Eimeria spp. oocysts per gram (OPG) of feces. In Exp. 1, the kids were fed 1 of 2 pelleted rations ad libitum; 90% SL leaf meal and a commercial pellet (n = 12/treatment group, 2 animals/pen). For Exp. 2, treatment groups were fed 1) 90% SL leaf meal pellets from leaves stored 3 years (n = 7), 2) 90% SL pellets from leaf meal stored less than 6 months, (n = 7), and commercial pellets (n = 6) ad libitum. For both trials, fecal and blood samples were taken from individual animals every 7 days for 28 days to determine OPG and GIN eggs per gram (EPG) and packed cell volume (PCV), respectively. In Exp. 2, feces were scored for consistency (1 = solid pellets, 5 = slurry) as an indicator of coccidiosis. In Exp. 1, EPG (P < 0.001) and OPG (P < 0.01) were reduced by 78.7 and 96.9%, respectively, 7 days after initiation of feeding in goats on the SL pellet diet compared with animals fed the control pellets. The OPG and EPG remained lower in treatment than control animals until the end of the trial. In Exp. 2, goats fed new and old SL leaf meal pellets had 66.2 and 79.2% lower (P < 0.05) EPG and 92.2 and 91.2% lower (P < 0.05) OPG, respectively, than control animals within 7 days, and these differences were maintained or increased throughout the trial. After 4 weeks of pellet feeding in Exp. 2, fecal scores were lower (P < 0.01) in both SL-fed groups compared with control animals, indicating fewer signs of coccidiosis. There was no effect of diet on PCV values throughout either experiment. Dried, pelleted SL has excellent potential as a natural anti-coccidial feed for weaned goats.