The effectiveness of anthelmintic treatments given 3 weeks after the onset of rains to control gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep in the highlands of central Kenya was investigated. The study was carried out on a farm situated approximately 85 km north west of Nairobi in Nyandarua District of central Kenya. In May 1999, 35 Corriedale ram lambs aged between 8 and 10 months were ear-tagged, weighed and given albendazole at 3.8 mg/kg body mass. The animals were then allocated to three treatment groups. Three weeks after onset of both the short and long rains' season in November 1999 and April 2000 respectively, lambs in groups 1 and 2 were dewormed. Lambs in group 1 were given closantel at 10 mg/kg body mass in November and closantel plus albendazole at 3.8 mg/kg body mass in April. Lambs in group 2 were given albendazole at 3.8 mg/kg body mass on both occasions, while lambs in group 3 were maintained as the untreated controls. Nematode eggs per gram of faeces (epg) for lambs in the control group were significantly higher (P<0.05) than in the treated groups beginning from November, when the strategic treatments started. The levels of epg did not differ significantly between the two treated groups. Body mass for the treated groups were significantly higher (P<0.05) than for the control group from January 2000 until the experiment was terminated. The rainfall received in the study area in 2000 during the long rain season was inadequate and only occurred for a short period. The amount of herbage on pastures was therefore not adequate and all the study animals started losing mass from June 2000 until the experiment was terminated. The cumulative mass gain and amount of wool produced by the treated lambs during the study period did not differ significantly. There was therefore no difference in using either of the two drugs. It is concluded that, strategic anthelmintic treatments of sheep at the start of the wet season in the highlands of central Kenya is effective in controlling gastrointestinal nematodes. To prevent high levels of re-infection during the season of the long rains (April to June), it is recommended that, during this season, a second treatment be given 5-6 weeks after the first one or at the start of the dry season.
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