Parasitology Research

, 105:1211 | Cite as

Herd factors influencing oocyst production of Eimeria and Cryptosporidium in Estonian dairy cattle

  • Brian LassenEmail author
  • Arvo Viltrop
  • Toivo Järvis
Original Paper


Cryptosporidium and Eimeria are intestinal parasites which are sensitive to the surroundings, behaviour and well-being of their host. In the present study, a range of factors related to farm management systems, environment, housing and herd characteristics were investigated with regard to alterations in oocyst excretion in cattle, using a mixed-effects model. Information and samples for three age categories were obtained from 45 Estonian dairy farms, located in 15 counties. Leaving the calf with the mother after birth reduced the risk of shedding higher levels of Cryptosporidium (OR = 0.20) and Eimeria (OR = 0.68) oocysts in all animals. The calves younger than 3 months kept on farms housing at least 150 animals had less risk (OR = 0.39) of producing higher numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts. A somewhat lower infection level was observed in 3- to 12-month-old animals housed in separate buildings (OR = 0.64). The chance of shedding higher levels of Eimeria doubled (OR = 2.27) in cattle older than a year in case a vacancy period was used before replacing animals in pens and tripled (OR = 2.94) when the relative humidity exceeded 75% in the cowshed. Winter reduced the odds (OR = 0.25) of shedding Eimeria oocysts in the oldest animals compared to the fall season. Simple changes in handling and housing of cattle may produce a positive effect on controlling coccidian infections in Estonian dairy herds.


Malachite Green Bovine Virus Diarrhoea Virus Herd Size Bovine Virus Diarrhoea Virus Vacancy Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the veterinarians for assistance in sample collection and the farms that participated in the research. Special thanks to Charlotte Hyttel for help with parasitological methods, Toomas Orro for statistical advice and Kerli Raaperi for practical help. Funding was provided by the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (project 0170165) and EU project 1.0101-0167 Graduate School in Biomedicine and Biotechnology, coordinated by SA Innove.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Infectious Diseases, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia

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