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Evaluation of the FAMACHA© system in lactating goats

M. Rovai, T. A. Gipson and L. J. Dawson

Journal of Animal Science 85(Supplement 1):43. 2007

The FAMACHA system has been adopted as a useful tool in meat goats for identifying clinical anemia associated with parasitism. However, the applicability of this method in dairy goats remains uncertain. The relation between FAMACHA system (FAM; scale based on the ocular conjunctiva color; 1-2 healthy, 3 border line, and 4-5 pale), fecal egg counts (FEC) and blood packed cell volume (PCV) were studied in 24 Alpine dairy goats measured every 2 wk throughout 7 month of lactation. All does were drenched with an anthelmintic at kidding. Samples for FEC were determined using modi?ed McMaster method and classi?ed as: low (?750) and high (>750) eggs per gram feces. For PCV, measured by the microhaematocrit method, values of ?19, 20-25, and > 25 were considered anemic, border line, and healthy, respectively. A false positive result was de?ned as animals with FAM 4-5 but not anemic and a false negative as animals with FAM 1-2 but anemic. The FEC values, log transformed, were affected by FAM (P < 0.05) where scores 4 and 5 showed low FEC (2.42, 2.49, and 2.23 for scores 1-2, 3, and 4-5, respectively). Moreover, high FEC had a tendency (P= 0.07) for low PCV values (2.52, 2.37, and 2.24 for anemic, border line, and healthy, respectively). For low FEC, 37% of animals were classi?ed as FAM 4-5, 48% as border line, and only 15% FAM 1-2. The relation between FEC and PCV also presented a negative tendency (P = 0.07) which reaf?rms the presence of high FEC with low PCV and, consequently, anemia. About 8.5% of goats would have been correctly treated with eye scores of 4-5 and low PCV values. However, 21% of the goats were false positive and would have been treated unnecessarily. Although there is a physiological relation between FEC and PCV, the FAM system was not suf?cient in itself for identifying anemia in dairy goats. Other causes (e.g., lactation stress) can be responsible for anemia, therefore FAM scores of 4-5 should be validated with FEC analysis.


 

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