Giardiasis in dairy calves: effects of fenbendazole treatment on intestinal structure and function.

Twelve Giardia duodenalis-infected Holstein dairy calves were allocated into a treatment (n=6) and placebo group (n=6) according to pre-study faecal cyst counts. Calves in the treatment group received an oral dose of 5 mg/kg fenbendazole once daily for 3 days, while placebo calves received a sterile saline solution. Calves were euthanised 7 days following the initiation of treatment and intestinal were collected and prepared for trophozoite quantitation, histology, electron microscopy, and disaccharidase assays. In all calves treated with fenbendazole, intestinal trophozoites were below detection limits, while in saline-treated calves, trophozoites were observed in all intestinal segments. Histologically, no significant difference was observed between treatment groups with respect to intestinal villus height or crypt depth. However, a significant decline in the number of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) was observed in fenbendazole-treated calves when compared with placebo-treated calves in the duodenum (13.9+/-1.2 vs. 17.0+/-1.1 IEL/100 enterocytes) and jejunum (21.6+/-0.8 vs. 30.7+/-1.0 IEL/100 enterocytes). In addition, measurements from TEM micrographs demonstrated a significant increase in microvillus surface area in the jejunum of fenbendazole-treated calves compared with saline-treated calves (31.2+/-10.2 vs. 22.8+/-7.6 microm(2)). This increase in microvillus surface area was also associated with an increase in jejunal maltase activity in fenbendazole-treated calves compared with calves treated with saline. These results demonstrate that fenbendazole is an effective treatment for giardiasis in calves. fenbendazole treatment eliminated Giardia trophozoites from the small intestine of calves resulting in increased microvillus surface area and greater intestinal enzyme activity. This study also demonstrates that the pathogenesis of giardiasis in calves is similar to that observed in humans and laboratory animals, and provides further evidence that Giardia is a pathogen of cattle with potential economic importance.
AuthorsR M O'Handley, A G Buret, T A McAllister, M Jelinski, M E Olson
JournalInternational journal for parasitology (Int J Parasitol) Vol. 31 Issue 1 Pg. 73-9 (Jan 2001) ISSN: 0020-7519 [Print] England
PMID11165274 (Publication Type: Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Antinematodal Agents
  • Fenbendazole
  • Animals
  • Antinematodal Agents (administration & dosage, therapeutic use)
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases (drug therapy)
  • Dairying
  • Drug Administration Schedule (veterinary)
  • Female
  • Fenbendazole (administration & dosage, therapeutic use)
  • Giardia lamblia (pathogenicity)
  • Giardiasis (drug therapy, veterinary)
  • Intestines (drug effects, pathology, ultrastructure)
  • Microscopy, Electron (veterinary)
  • Structure-Activity Relationship

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