Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Combination Treatments Recommended

The American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC) via an article by Dr. Ray Kaplan (University of Georgia) is now recommending combination treatments when deworming sheep and goats. Combination treatments involve giving dewormers from different dewormer groups to the same animal in a close time span.

In the US, there are only four groups of dewormers: 1) benzimidazoles (SafeGuard® and Valbazen®); 2) avermectins (Ivomec®, Dectomax®, and Eprinex®); 3) moxidectin (Cydectin®); and 4) levamisole (Prohibit®, LevaMed®). An example of a combination treatment would be Valbazen® + Cydectin® + Prohibit®.

The goal of a combination treatment is to increase the efficacy of deworming and slow the development of resistant worms. In New Zealand, it has been demonstrated that when combination treatments are used with “parasite best management practices,” there may be a reversion (of the drugs) back to susceptibility.

In other countries, there are dewormer products that contain multiple drug actives. In the US, combination dewormer products are not commercially available or FDA-approved. Thus, each dewormer will need to be purchased and administered separately. The dewormers can be given one after another, but should not be given in the same syringe. Mixing dewormers may not be safe or effective. It is not legal. It should not be done.

In Dr. Kaplan’s article, he recommends that all dewormers be given at the full recommended dose. The withdrawal period for the dewormer with the longest withdrawal period should be followed. For sheep and goat dewormers, this is usually Cydectin®.

It is essential that combination treatments not be given to all sheep and goats on the farm or in the same management group. Only those requiring deworming, based on FAMACHA© scores and/or the Five Point Check® should be dewormed. If refugia is not maintained, soon all deworming will fail and animals will die needlessly. Refugia are worms that have not been exposed to the dewormer(s); thus, remain susceptible to treatment.

To learn more about using combination treatments to deworm sheep and goats, be sure to read Dr. Kaplan’s article at www.wormx.info/combinations. Be sure to follow the advice of your veterinarian if your use of dewormers (or any animal health product) falls under extra-label drug law.

For sheep producers, there is an FDA-approved dewormer in each group. However, this is not the case for goats. Thus, it’s required that goat producers consult with a veterinarian before giving combination treatments. Only a veterinarian is legally allowed to use or prescribe drugs extra-label. The extra-label drug law requires a valid veterinarian-patient-client relationship.

Note:  Combination treatments were used in the Western Maryland Pasture-Based  Meat Goat Performance Test for many years. The three drugs (Valbazen® + Cydectin® + Prohibit®) were given sequentially in different syringes to each buck, upon arrival to the test site.