Control of cryptosporidiosis in neonatal calves: use of halofuginone lactate in two different calf rearing systems

V De Waele, N Speybroeck, D Berkvens, G Mulcahy, TM Murphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    To date there is no effective treatment for bovine cryptosporidiosis. This study describes the use of halofuginone lactate in preventing cryptosporidiosis in naturally infected neonatal calves on a dairy farm with a high prevalence of infection. The animals were kept in two different calf rearing systems. A randomized double-blind trial was carried out with 32 naturally infected calves, divided into four groups. The two prophylactic halofuginone lactate treated groups were kept in either individual or group pens. Similarly, the animals receiving the placebo were housed in either individual pens or together in a large pen. A total of ten faecal samples were collected periodically during the 28 days study from each calf and tested for the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. using microscopic and molecular methods. Generalized estimating equations models were used to determine if the effects of the various treatments and/or rearing systems on the presence of diarrhoea and infection were statistically significant. Further analysis (classification trees models) was carried out to explore possible risk factors for cryptosporidiosis and interactions between treatments and rearing systems. Halofuginone lactate was shown to be effective in reducing clinical signs of cryptosporidiosis and environmental contamination. However, the treatment did not delay the onset of diarrhoea and did not reduce the risk of infection amongst calves reared together in a highly contaminated environment. The use of halofuginone lactate in combination with good hygienic measures, such as rearing animals in clean individual pens, was the most effective method to reduce the risk of cryptosporidiosis amongst 7-13 days old calves. It was concluded that the control of the parasite could be achieved by the combination of using effective preventive drugs, such as halofuginone lactate and good animal husbandry procedures
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Issue number3-4
    Pages (from-to)143-151
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Animal diseases
    • Protozoal diseases
    • Zoonoses
    • Cryptosporidiosis
    • Cryptosporidium parvum
    • Neonatal
    • Calves
    • Prevention
    • Halofuginone lactate
    • Treatment
    • Rearing
    • Diarrhea
    • Risk factors
    • Hygiene
    • Animal husbandry
    • Ireland
    • Europe-West


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