Effect of rumen fluke on feed digestibility and methane emissions in sheep

Naomi Rutherford, Jason Barley, Mark Robinson, Alan Gordon, T. Yan, Aurelie Aubry*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Thirty-six ewes aged 18 months were assigned to one of three groups (n = 12) on the basis of faecal egg count (FEC) for rumen fluke; C: control (FEC = 0–5 epg), T: affected (FEC ≥ 6 epg) and treated, NT: affected (FEC ≥ 6 epg) and not treated. T ewes were treated with oxyclozanide 14 days prior to the trial commencing. Ewes were fed grass silage ad libitum. Digestibility crates and respiration chambers were used to measure feed digestibility and methane production. Dry matter intake (DMI), feed digestibility and CH4/DMI did not differ (P > 0.05) between treatments. However, CH4/live weight (LW) was significantly greater (P < 0.001) for NT ewes, while that of C and T ewes were similar. This study indicates that a high rumen fluke burden can increase methane emissions but only when expressed on a body weight basis (per kg LW). As the link between rumen fluke infection and methane production has not previously been investigated within the literature, these findings demonstrate the need for further research to better understand these relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3347–3350
Number of pages4
JournalParasitology Research
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022


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