Modelling the impact of targeted anthelmintic treatment of cattle on dung fauna

Andrew S. Cooke, Eric R. Morgan, Jennifer A.J. Dungait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
254 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract The insecticidal properties of many anthelmintics pose a risk to dung fauna, through the effects of drug residues in dung on the activity, oviposition and development of dung-dwelling invertebrates. Reductions in dung fauna numbers can inhibit dung degradation, which may impact biodiversity and nutrient cycling on farms. A simulation model was created to predict the impact of antiparasitic drugs on cattle dung fauna, and calibrated using published data on the dung-breeding fly Scathophaga stercoraria. This model was then tested under different effective dung drug concentrations (EC) and proportions of treated cattle (PT) to determine the impact under different application regimens. EC accounted for 12.9% of the observed variation in S. stercoraria population size, whilst PT accounted for 54.9%. The model outputs indicate that the tendency within veterinary medicine for targeted selective treatments (TST), in order to attenuate selection for drug resistance in parasite populations, will decrease the negative impacts of treatments on dung fauna populations by providing population refugia. This provides novel evidence for the benefits of TST regimens on local food webs, relative to whole-herd treatments. The model outputs were used to create a risk graph for stakeholders to use to estimate risk of anthelminthic toxicity to dung fauna.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Early online date7 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2017


  • anthelmintic resistance
  • helminth
  • antiparasitic
  • targeted selective treatment
  • refugia
  • agriculture
  • environment


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