Plant extracts can reduce worms in pigs
A non-pharmaceutical approach to worm control is
especially valued by organic pig producers. Plant extracts may be the solution,
according to a new study from the Animal Sciences Group in the
The objective of the study was to test herb alternatives
for the prevention and control of a mild infection of Ascaris
Suum in growing and finishing pigs. Two
different herb mixtures were tested. Feed was supplemented with a 3% herb
mixture, thereby adding 1% Thymus vulgaris, 1% Melissa officinalis and 1%
Echinacea purpurea to the diet, or with a 4% herb mixture, thereby adding the
mentioned herbs plus 1% Camellia sinensis (black tea) to the diet.
pigs were infected with 1,000 worm eggs each. Comparatively, a negative control
group (no treatment) and a positive control group (treatment with the
conventional synthetic drug Flubendazole) were included. An experiment was
conducted with 32 young boars (average starter weight was 24 kg) purchased from
a SPF-pig farm. The pigs were monitored during 67 days in the period December
2006 until February 2007.
experiment it was concluded that a diet with a herb mixture containing 1% Thymus
vulgaris, 1% Melissa officinalis and 1% Echinacea purpurea for growing and
finishing pigs did not decrease the number of pigs which are infected with
Ascaris suum, but did reduce the average number of worms in the gastro
The addition of 1% black tea to this herb mixture did not result in a lower
number of infected pigs and also did not reduce the average number of worms in
Flubendazole appeared to be an effective deworming product.
On organic farms with a low worm infection probably a combination of a
conventional synthetic drug and a diet with herb mixture containing 1% Thymus
vulgaris, 1% Melissa officinalis and 1% Echinacea purpurea is an
Examination of faeces of sows, weaners and growing and finishing
pigs regularly, and also the percentage of disapproved livers of growing and
finishing pigs, can support monitoring the level of worm infection on the farm.
Based on this monitoring probably a strategy of varying deworming with a
synthetic drug and a diet with herb mixture can be developed for the different
categories of pigs.
Further research on this method, and also the suitable period to supply this
herb mixture to sows related to stage of pregnancy and weaners related to age
and feed intake, is desirable.
â€¢ Animal Sciences Group
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