ParaCalc®—A novel tool to evaluate the economic importance of worm infections on the dairy farm

Johannes Charlier, Mariska van der Voort, Henk Hogeveen, Jozef Vercruysse

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    Subclinical infections with gastrointestinal nematodes and liver fluke are important causes
    of production losses in grazing cattle. Although there is an extensive compilation of literature
    describing the effect of these infections on animal performance, only a few attempts
    have been made to convert these production losses to an economic cost. Here, we propose
    a novel tool (ParaCalc®), available as a web-application, to provide herd-specific estimates
    of the costs of these infections on dairy farms. ParaCalc® is a deterministic spread-sheet
    model where results from diagnostic methods to monitor the helminth infection status on
    a herd and anthelmintic usage are used as input parameters. Default values are provided
    to describe the effects of the infections on production and the cost of these production
    losses, but the latter can be adapted to improve the herd-specificity of the cost estimate.
    After development, ParaCalc® was applied on input parameters that were available for 93
    Belgian dairy herds. In addition, the tool was provided to 6 veterinarians and their user
    experiences were evaluated. The estimated median [25th–75th percentile] cost per year
    per cow was €46 [29–58] and €6 [0–19] for gastrointestinal nematode and liver fluke
    infection, respectively. For both infections, the major components in the total costs were
    those associated with milk production losses in the adult cows. The veterinarians evaluated
    ParaCalc® as a useful tool to raise the farmers’ awareness on the costs of worm infections,
    providing added value for their services. However, the score given for user-friendliness was
    diverse among users. Although the model behind ParaCalc® is a strong simplification of the
    real herd processes inducing economic losses, the tool may be used in the future to support
    economic decisions on helminth control.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TijdschriftVeterinary Parasitology
    Pagina's (van-tot)204-211
    Aantal pagina’s8
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 23-mrt.-2012

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