Veterinary Parasitology (VETPAR)
Parasites are ubiquitous in domestic and wild animals and only very few infections are we able to eradicate. Our goal is to harness the host to better cope (or co-exist) with infections or to limit infections in a sustainable way to avoid disease, improve immunity and reduce the loss in productivity.
“..approaches to helminth control with less reliance on existing drugs are urgently needed to ensure sustainable control of parasites in the future. And reducing the production loss induced by parasites will limit the climate footprint of livestock and be a further step to sustainability.” (Stig M. Thamsborg)
Anthelmintic resistance is an increasing problem in modern livestock production and is a major driving force for alternative control. We are surveying populations for drug resistance and are currently exploring alternative control options, mainly nematode destroying fungi, dietary phytochemicals, bioactive forages for grazing, and pre-/probiotics. Also research on mechanisms of drug action and uptake in worms.
Both hosts and parasites are complex multicellular organisms that have co-evolved for millions of years. Molecular methods are used to identify parasites and explore transmission routes. We have shown how feed additives like inulin may affect the gut microbiota and helminth populations, as well as immune function.
Clinical parasitology in companion animals and livestock
We focus currently on fasciolosis in cattle and wildlife, and strongyle infections in cattle, sheep, cats and dogs. In dogs, we have shown that false positive findings of parasite elements in faeces are very common and cause diagnostic problems.
Hansen et al. (2019). Exploration of extracellular vesicles from Ascaris suum provides evidence of parasite-host cross talk. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 8(1)  https://doi.org/10.1080/20013078.2019.1578116
In this study we demonstrate that extracellular vesicles are released from larval and adult stages Ascaris suum and they carry a cargo of miRNA and protein that play a role in host–parasite interactions, e.g. immuno-modulation.
Thapa et al. (2018). Effect of the nematophagous fungus Pochonia chlamydosporia on soil content of ascarid eggs and infection levels in exposed hens. Parasites & Vectors, 11(1), 319-
Here we have shown that the hard-shelled eggs of ascarids can be “cracked” by this biological agent but the natural soil flora outcompetes the nematode-eating fungi.
Takeuchi-Storm et al. (2018). Patterns of Fasciola hepatica infection in Danish dairy cattle: implications for on-farm control of the parasite based on different diagnostic methods. Parasites & Vectors, 11, s. 1-18 674. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-017-2504-y
We established the temporal pattern of fasciolosis and investigated the relationship of diagnostic parameters: egg counts, antibodies and faecal antigen testing on two organic and two conventional dairy farms.