The interest in novel methods of controlling helminth infections in ruminants is driven primarily by the development of parasite resistance to currently available anthelmintics. While the purpose of anthelmintics is to achieve high efficacy, i.e. >90% reduction of adult and/or larval parasites in the target host animal, the purpose of novel parasite control methods is rather to assist in maintaining parasite infections below the economic threshold. The ability to maintain parasite levels below the economic threshold is related not only to the efficacy of the control method, but also to the epidemiology of the parasites, climatic conditions, the livestock management program, and integration in a sustainable parasite control program. Because of this fundamental difference, novel parasite control methods need to be evaluated using efficacy criteria different from that adopted for anthelmintics. Although the efficacy of novel parasite control methods may be demonstrated in classic dose-confirmation studies, the impact on livestock production parameters can only be evaluated when tested on-farm. In this paper, the rationale for evaluating novel methods differently from anthelmintics is reviewed, potential performance expectations are presented, and four novel parasite control methods (vaccines, nematophagous fungi, condensed tannins, and immunonutrition) are assessed based on the potential performance criteria.
- Novel control methods