New guide to winning the worm war

Internal parasites are a constant threat to livestock productivity worldwide – and an AgResearch scientist is doing his bit on the war against worms with a book on strategies for controlling these agricultural bugbears.

AgResearch’s Team Leader of Molecular Immunology and Parasitology, Dr Ian Sutherland, has teamed up with Dr Ian Scott, Senior Lecturer in Parasitology at Massey University’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, to write ‘Gastrointestinal Nematodes of Sheep and Cattle: Biology and Control’.

More than two years in the making, the book provides an over-arching view of past, present and suggested future strategies for the control of gastrointestinal nematode parasites in grazing livestock.

Aimed primarily at scientists, vets and students interested in parasitic disease and livestock production, it delves into the economic impact of worms, their impact on livestock, the drugs used to get rid of them, the emerging problem of drug resistance and resistance management. Dr Sutherland and Dr Scott also break new ground by discussing alternative options for worm control, including nutritional interventions, biological control, breeding for desirable genetics and artificially improving immunity to infection

Dr Sutherland is well-qualified to put together such a book, having over 20 years of experience both in the lab and out in the field. He’s also the current President of the New Zealand Society for Parasitology, while Dr Scott is the Treasurer, and an expert in aspects of parasite-induced pathophysiology (changes in functions caused by parasitic disease).

As well as getting great personal satisfaction out of publishing such a book, Dr Sutherland says he saw the end-result as an excellent way of raising the profile of the discipline of parasitology in New Zealand, both nationally and internationally.

"Looking at the reference lists in almost every chapter of the book, you can see the huge contribution New Zealand parasitologists have made to our body of knowledge."

"We wanted the book to be a general introduction to the area. It was also important to make it accessible to both researchers and non-scientists, and from feedback I’ve had it seems to have hit the mark," Dr Sutherland says.

The book is available from bookstores and a number of online sellers, and for more information contact

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A handbook for worm control strategies, written by AgResearch’s Dr Ian Sutherland and Massey University’s Dr Ian Scott.

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