Dr K. Syamala, Assistant Professor at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (CVAS) Thrissur, developed a farmer-friendly eye card that can be used to detect worm infections in goats. This ‘Anaemia Eye Card’ will be a boon for farmers who rear goats in humid climates.
Gastrointestinal parasitism is a major health hazard for goats. Therefore, the drug to kill the parasites – anthelmintic – is used indiscriminately. This has led to the development of resistance to the drug. This anthelmintic resistance has become an issue in countries that rear goats and sheep.
It is to solve this problem that Dr K. Syamala developed the ‘Anaemia Eye Card’. It can be used to detect the presence of parasitic worms (helminth) in the goat’s intestines. This will lead to a more targeted and sustainable approach for the treatment of gastrointestinal parasitism.
The eye card has been developed based on an anaemia eye card (FAMACHA) developed in South Africa exclusively for sheep.
To use this card, all one has to do is to compare the colour of the conjunctival mucous membranes of the goat with the card. The card has a colour gradation that shows the severity of the infection.
We need to treat goats with conjunctival mucous membranes that have a colour towards the white spectrum. Ones with colours towards the red spectrum indicate lower chances of infection (red means no treatment). Projections indicate that 72% of anthelmintic use reduces if the usage of the card is effective. Thus, the use of this card can help contain drug resistance.
Dr K Devada, former director (Academics and Research), Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) guided the research for the development of this ‘Anaemia Eye Card’. It is the result of a study conducted on 1,500 goats from 13 different agro-ecological zones in the State. The financial support for this project was provided by KVASU and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-All India Coordinated Research Project on ‘goat improvement’.