Modelling the consequences of targeted selective treatment strategies on performance and emergence of anthelmintic resistance amongst grazing calves

Zoe Berk*, Yan C.S.M. Laurenson, Andrew B. Forbes, Ilias Kyriazakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


The development of anthelmintic resistance by helminths can be slowed by maintaining refugia on pasture or in untreated hosts. Targeted selective treatments (TST) may achieve this through the treatment only of individuals that would benefit most from anthelmintic, according to certain criteria. However TST consequences on cattle are uncertain, mainly due to difficulties of comparison between alternative strategies. We developed a mathematical model to compare: 1) the most ‘beneficial’ indicator for treatment selection and 2) the method of selection of calves exposed to Ostertagia ostertagi, i.e. treating a fixed percentage of the population with the lowest (or highest) indicator values versus treating individuals who exceed (or are below) a given indicator threshold. The indicators evaluated were average daily gain (ADG), faecal egg counts (FEC), plasma pepsinogen, combined FEC and plasma pepsinogen, versus random selection of individuals. Treatment success was assessed in terms of benefit per R (BPR), the ratio of average benefit in weight gain to change in frequency of resistance alleles R (relative to an untreated population). The optimal indicator in terms of BPR for fixed percentages of calves treated was plasma pepsinogen and the worst ADG; in the latter case treatment was applied to some individuals who were not in need of treatment. The reverse was found when calves were treated according to threshold criteria, with ADG being the best target indicator for treatment. This was also the most beneficial strategy overall, with a significantly higher BPR value than any other strategy, but its degree of success depended on the chosen threshold of the indicator. The study shows strong support for TST, with all strategies showing improvements on calves treated selectively, compared with whole-herd treatment at 3, 8, 13 weeks post-turnout. The developed model appeared capable of assessing the consequences of other TST strategies on calf populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of the UK and Merial, France (Grant code: BB/K50175X/1 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors


  • Anthelmintic resistance
  • Cattle
  • Gastrointestinal parasitism
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Ostertagia ostertagi
  • Targeted selective treatment (TST)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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