Gastrointestinal parasites, especially blood-feeding Haemonchus spp. nematodes, are extremely important in the care of grazing and browsing captive hoofstock species, as they have been linked to morbidity and mortality in facilities worldwide. Giraffe have been adversely affected by these parasites, especially in the southeastern United States where environmental factors are optimal for parasite development and survival. Several issues confound parasite control in captive wild hoofstock species. Such issues include, but are not limited to, anthelmintic resistance by the parasites, animal compliance in administration of drugs, and the ability of facilities to monitor pre- and post-treatment fecal egg count (FEC) to verify effectiveness. The use of copper oxide wire particles (COWP, Copasure®, The Butler Company, Columbus, OH), a non-anthelmintic therapy, has demonstrated promising effect for controlling Haemonchus contortus in sheep.1,2 Toxicity can be an issue with sheep, but is rare in goats and cattle. Where wild hoofstock species fall in this toxicity scheme is unknown. Due to a high level of anthelmintic resistance, this study evaluated the effect of multiple doses of COWP in giraffe as an alternative. Doses ranging from 3.2–25 g per animal resulted in FEC reductions ranging from 27 to 95%. COWP were administered by mixing in loose feed or by capsules being incorporated into fruit. Results indicate that COWP can be used effectively to control Haemonchus spp. in giraffe, but potential toxicity should be monitored closely.
1. Burke, J.M., J.E. Miller, D.D. Olcott, B.M. Olcott and T.H. Terrill. 2004. Dose of copper oxide wire particles (COWP) and feed supplement level influences Haemonchus contortus infection in lambs. Vet. Parasitol. 123:235–243.
2. Burke, J.M. and J.E. Miller. 2006. Evaluation of multiple low dose copper oxide wire particle boluses for control of Haemonchus contortus in lambs. Vet. Parasitol. 139:145–149.