The influence of nutrition on the periparturient rise in fecal egg counts in dairy goats: results from a two-year study.
The periparturient relaxation in immunity (PPRI) to nematode infection in ewes is associated with a rise in faecal egg counts during the periparturient period. To assess an eventual relationship between the PPRI and the nutritional status of periparturient females, a 2-year study was carried out in a dairy goat flock in western France. In year 1, 21 pregnant does were fed at 26% below their energy requirements and 5% above their protein requirements during the last 3 weeks before parturition (week 0) and an increase in nematode egg counts occurred from week -2 to week +4 with a predominance of Oesophagostomum larvae in coprocultures. In year 2, 2 groups of 20 pregnant goats were fed at about 100% energy requirements and 28 and 44% above the protein requirements, respectively, during the same period. No nematode egg count increase occurred in either group; Teladorsagia and Trichostrongylus were the prevalent larval genera in coprocultures. The implication of several factors related to host physiology, parasite epidemiology and host nutrition are discussed.