Resistance of Gastrointestinal Nematodes to Anthelmintics in Sheep Production in Zimbabwe

Main Article Content

Alice N. Mushonga
Soul Washaya
Godfrey B Nyamushamba


Introduction: Sheep play a crucial role in enhancing the socio-economic welfare of individuals in numerous nations. Within sub-Saharan Africa, productivity levels are hindered by various factors, such as prevalent diseases, inadequate nutrition, climate variations, predators, severe weather, as well as infestations of both external and internal parasites. The purpose of the present study was to assess the extent of anthelmintic resistance (AR) observed on a sheep farm operating for commercial purposes in Zimbabwe.

Materials and methods: Forty female weaner Dorper sheep, averaging 43 kg in body weight, were selected from Ballineety commercial sheep farm in Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe. These sheep were then divided into four groups of ten each, receiving different treatments including ivermectin, albendazole, levamisole, and no treatment as a control. Each treatment was administered according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Pre-treatment faecal samples (day zero) and post-treatment (day 14) were collected and subjected to the Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT).  Anthelminthic resistance was suggested (AR) by the presence of faecal eggs after treatment.

Results: All the drugs indicated a decrease in egg counts by less than 90%. The effectiveness of ivermectin, albendazole, and levamisole was measured at 58.5%, 70.1%, and 85.8% respectively. These findings indicate that nematodes have developed resistance to all treatments. The larval cultures of the samples before and after treatment indicated a significant presence of Haemonchus spp. in the pooled samples. In contrast, the quantities of Trichostrongylus spp. and Oesophagostomum spp. were low but present in all treatments. Cooperia spp. was recovered in post-treatment larval cultures of groups that received anthelmintic. The present study reports lower-than-expected efficacy for ivermectin, albendazole, and levamisole based on the reduction of egg excreted post-treatment.

Conclusion: A common worms population in sheep are AR in the current study area. Therefore, comprehensive nematode management programs along with complementary eradication strategies are essential for sustainable sheep production.       

Article Details

How to Cite
Mushonga , A. N., Washaya, S., & Nyamushamba, G. B. (2024). Resistance of Gastrointestinal Nematodes to Anthelmintics in Sheep Production in Zimbabwe. Farm Animal Health and Nutrition, 3(1), 22–27.
Original Articles


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