Prevalence of sucking and chewing lice on cattle entering feedlots in southern Alberta

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:D. D. Colwell, Clymer, B., Booker, C. W., Guichon, P. T., Jim, G. K., Schunicht, O. C., Wildman, B. K.
Journal:Canadian Veterinary Journal
Pagination:281 - 285
Date Published:2001
ISBN Number:0008-5286
Keywords:Alberta, Animal Husbandry/methods/standards, animals, Anoplura, cattle, Cattle Diseases, Housing, Animal, Lice Infestations/epidemiology/parasitology/veterinary, Mallophaga, prevalence

Beef calves from 2 sources entering southern Alberta feedlots in the winters of 1997-98 and 1998-99, were surveyed for the presence of lice. A random sample of multiple source (MS), that is, auction market-derived, calves entering commercial feedlots and single source (SS) calves entering a backgrounding feedlot were examined for the presence of lice at entry to the feedlot. A standardized examination, which involved hair-part examination of 8 louse predilection sites, was conducted on each selected calf to determine prevalence and intensity of infestation. The long-nosed sucking louse, Linognathus vituli, was the most commonly encountered species. This species infested from 57.8% to 95.6% of the calves selected from both MS and SS calves during both winters. Louse index values, indicating intensity of infestation, for L. vituli ranged from 1 to 243 lice per animal. The chewing louse, Bovicola bovis, was present on MS and SS calves only in the winter of 1998-99. The louse index values for B. bovis ranged from 1 to 230 lice per animal. Mixed infestations of the L. vituli and B. bovis were common. The little blue cattle louse, Solenopotes capillatus, was present only on the SS calves in the winter of 1997-98. The short-nosed sucking louse, Haematopinus eurysternus, was present at very low intensities, 1-2 lice per animal, on 2.6% to 4.4% of the MS calves during both winters. Comparison of results from the current study with published literature suggests that efforts to determine the economic impact of louse infestations are confounded by the lack of a uniform method to assess louse population levels.

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