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Tannins for suppression of internal parasites

B.R. Min and S.P. Hart

Journal of Animal Science. 81(Electronic Supplement 2):E102-E109. 2003.

This article is a review of published research that has been done with tannins on their possible use for controlling gastrointestinal parasites (worms), especially in goats. Gastrointestinal parasites in goats are developing resistance to dewormers and in the near future, dewormers will lose their effectiveness in controlling worms. Some laboratory studies have shown that tannins in plants may be effective in controlling worms and a few field studies have shown good results. Sericea lespedeza and oak species are examples of plants containing tannins. There are two mechanisms by which tannins may help to control worms. They may have an indirect mechanism in that they improve protein nutrition of the animal which helps the animal's immune response. Protein nutrition is improved by the tannin binding the protein in the rumen, preventing its degradation by rumen microorganisms, and stomach acids cause the tannins release the protein for digestion. This has been shown to improve protein supply of the animal by 20-40%. Tannins may also have direct effects on the parasites themselves. In some cases, egg production by the worms is reduced by more than 40%, causing a reduction in pasture contamination. One study showed that one type of worm is killed by tannins, but this species is not our most common worm in the South. Also, there is some evidence that tannins reduce hatch and development of worm eggs in the feces. From this review, it appears that research should be done on the use of tannins to control worms in goats.


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