Trichostrongylus colubriformis infection: Impact on digesta passage rate and lamb performance
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In this study we aimed to evaluate the effect of Trichostrongylus colubriformis infection on digesta passage rate, rumen fermentation and lamb performance. Eighteen three-month-old Santa Ines castrated male lambs (16.9 ± 1.43 kg of body weight) were randomly distributed in two experimental treatments: Infected with T. colubriformis (I, n = 9) and Uninfected (U, n = 9). The I lambs received a total of 45,000 L3 larvae of T. colubriformis (5,000 infective larvae, three times per week for three weeks). Daily feed intake was assessed using the I lambs as a reference for their respective pairs on the U group (pair-fed). Weight, body condition score and faeces (stool) samples were obtained every 15 days for 75 days. In both treatments, faecal egg count (FEC), digesta passage rate, rumen fermentation parameters, protozoa count and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) were evaluated. The lambs presented moderate infection (FEC = 620). The retention time of the digesta in the rumen-reticulum segment was lower (P < 0.05) in I lambs. The I lambs presented no inappetence, however, lower concentrations of total SCFA and butyrate, while higher acetate concentration were observed in these lambs (P < 0.05). The present findings highlight that T. colubriformis infection decreased the retention time (solid and liquid content) of the digesta in the rumen-reticulum, as well as negatively affected lamb growth.