The project aims to develop and evaluate molecular tests for the detection of gastrointestinal parasites in sheep and their resistance status to anthelmintics. The genetic markers will then be tested in two major sheep flocks to provide an evidence base for a monitoring program that, ultimately, will be compared with and eventually replace the currently used systems. The goal is to prevent the spread of resistant parasites to sheep flocks in a more efficient manner than is the case today.
Our hypothesis is that the morbidity of parasite-afflicted flocks is generally higher than in those which can still control the pathogens. A consequence of the lack of accurate parasite monitoring is that anthelmintics are used inappropriately. This inevitably leads to increased resistance, which in turn provides increased morbidity whereby production is adversely affected by, for example, reduced growth and higher lamb mortality.