Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite influencing behaviour of its hosts. The parasite is often present in sheep flocks without clinical symptoms. The order of moving to the milking parlour was reported to be non-random in domestic bovids. The aim of this study was to investigate if milking order is related to T. gondii infection in sheep. The study was performed on 41 ewes milked twice a day. Milking order was noted during 7 consecutive days. The indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) was used to detect antibodies (IgG+IgM) in sera of sheep. Titers >=8 were considered positive. Moreover, in case of positive sera a test for IgM was conducted. The antibodies to T. gondii were found in 53.65% of the investigated sheep, but IgM were not found in any sheep. Infected sheep entered the milking parlour significantly later (mean position at milking 24.89) than uninfected animals (16.40; r=0.43, p=0.006). Results of this study suggest that behaviour of sheep is related to T. gondii infection. However, it is not clear if the phenomenon has any adaptive value for the parasite.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Sheep, Goat and Fur Animals Breeding, August Cieszkowski Agricultural University of Poznan, Sloneczna 1, Zlotniki, 62-002 Suchy Las, Poland. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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