Increase in Milk Yield Following Eprinomectin Treatment at Calving in Pastured Dairy Cattle

Vet Parasitol. 2002 May 2;105(3):191-206. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4017(02)00024-9.


Gastrointestinal nematodes rarely cause signs of clinical disease in adult cattle. However, they have been shown to exert a negative impact on production in lactating animals, as seen by improved production following elimination of the worms using anthelmintics. A double blind, randomized clinical trial was performed in 28 dairy herds in Canada. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of treatment with eprinomectin pour-on solution (IVOMEC EPRINEX) at calving on production, in cattle that have had some exposure to pasture. Cows were randomly allocated to treatment or placebo in blocks of 10, based on calving date, and treated with eprinomectin or placebo on the day of calving. Information on milk production was obtained from all animals, as well as recorded cases of selected diseases. Milk production results from the Canadian dairy herd management system database were analysed using a mixed model with herd as a random effect and test within-cow as a repeated measurement. Test day milk yields from the first six tests after treatment were included in the model, representing a period of between 180 and 200 days in milk (dim). Treated cows produced an additional 0.94 kg of milk per day when compared to the controls over this period. The production effect was independent of calving season, age of the animal and geographical location. No effect of treatment was seen on milk composition, somatic cell count (scc) or on the selected health parameters that were recorded for all included animals. Monthly fecal egg counts (FEC) were performed for eight randomly selected animals in each herd. The observed FEC were low in this study, with a range from 0 to 419 trichostrongyle type eggs per 5g (ep5g) of feces in animals not yet treated with the anthelmintic. The average count was 9.8 and the median was 1.0. FECs dropped immediately after calving and stayed lower for at least 100 days in treated animals when compared to controls. In conclusion, gastrointestinal nematodes appear to have an effect on milk production in Canadian dairy cows that have had some degree of pasture exposure. Eliminating the present subclinical parasite burdens produced a consistent increase in milk production that can yield economic benefits for the dairy producer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use*
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology
  • Cattle Diseases / physiopathology
  • Dairying
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Helminthiasis, Animal / drug therapy*
  • Helminthiasis, Animal / parasitology
  • Helminthiasis, Animal / physiopathology
  • Helminths / drug effects
  • Helminths / growth & development
  • Ivermectin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ivermectin / pharmacology
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use*
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / cytology
  • Milk / metabolism*
  • Parasite Egg Count / veterinary
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Seasons
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anthelmintics
  • Ivermectin
  • eprinomectin