Development and quantitative validation of improved sustainable donkey parasite control programmes (extension): creation and comprehensive validation of a general monitoring and control system for donkey endoparasites

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Refinement of existing statistical modelling. Development of bespoke software solution for decision support and monitoring. Case comparison study to test new software.


To work towards 'best practice' for comprehensive donkey parasite control, continuing the aims of an existing collaborative studentship focussed on cyathostomin management and expanding the remit to include all endoparasites of welfare concern to animals at The Donkey Sanctuary. The ultimate goal is incorporation of the information available from all potentially useful sources into the same comprehensive framework, producing an evidence based targeted anthelmintic dosing programme to control pasture infectivity, as well as monitoring other indicators of individual animal welfare compromise from veterinary records and signs of clinical parasitism from other relevant endoparasites at post mortem. This approach will continue to incorporate methods of environmental suppression of parasite transmission, which is a sustainable and effective way of controlling many parasites of grazing animals.


In addition to the previous project: 1. To extend the remit of the decision support system being developed to account for all other pathogenic endoparasites that compromise animal welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary. 2. To use climatological information from an automated weather station to increase the accuracy of the strongyle targeted dosing system and to predict high risk periods for liver fluke. 3. To incorporate information from the individual animal veterinary records into the targeted dosing system, so that any individual animal history of clinical signs that are found to be consistent with parasitism can be accounted for in making dosing decisions for the group. 4. To monitor information on post-mortem findings and relate this to the clinical findings, FWEC and other data available for the surviving members of the same group to provide an early warning system for a wide range of emerging parasite issues 5. To develop an alternative retrieval interface to the existing SQL database, to enhance the usefulness of this data and efficiency of FWEC recording at The Donkey Sanctuary. 6. To deliver a bespoke software solution delivering the database access, information retrieval and decision support system developed during the studentship along with automatically generated targeted dosing recommendations and feedback of early warning indicators for disease to the veterinary team.