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Int J Parasitol. 1996 Mar;26(3):291-5.

Effect of diet on the excretion profile of ivermectin in cattle faeces.

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  • 1Agriculture Western Australia, South Perth, Australia.


Two groups of 26 cattle (cross-bred, 3-8 years old, weight 450-650 kg) were placed onto 2 feed regimens, pasture-fed and grain-fed. The pasture-fed cattle were kept on irrigated pasture with hay supplement ad libitum, whereas the grain-fed cattle were kept in a feedlot and fed hay and lupin grain in a 40:60 ratio. Half the cattle within each feed group (n = 13) were given a subcutaneous injection of ivermectin (Ivomec) at the dose rate of 200 micrograms/kg liveweight. Over 5 times higher levels of ivermectin were excreted in the faeces of grain-fed cattle compared with pasture-fed (grazing) cattle. Peak excretion levels of 0.36 mg/kg (grain-fed) and 0.09 mg/kg (pasture-fed) of ivermectin were recorded at 6 and 8 days post-injection (dpi), respectively. Ivermectin was detected in faeces for up to 13 dpi (grain-fed) and 14 dpi (pasture-fed). Faecal pH in grain-fed cattle was more acidic (6.43) compared with pasture-fed cattle (7.28) and the levels of nitrogen in faeces from grain-fed cattle were higher (0.42%) compared with pasture-fed cattle (0.20%). Treatment with ivermectin had no influence on either the pH or nitrogen levels of faeces from either feed regimen. The impact of diet on the excretion profile of ivermectin is discussed in the context of studies attempting to demonstrate ecotoxic effects of ivermectin residues in cattle faeces on dung beetles.

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