Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis are common protozoal parasites in livestock including beef cattle on rangeland and irrigated pasture. A statewide cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence, species or genotype, and risk factors for fecal shedding of Cryptosporidium and Giardia by cattle from California cow-calf operations. Species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia were determined by molecular fingerprinting. Prevalence of Cryptosporidium (19.8%) and Giardia (41.7%) in fecal samples from calves were approximately twice as high as fecal samples from cows (9.2% and 23.1%, respectively). In addition to age, multivariable logistic regression showed that higher stocking density and a higher number of replacement heifers were positively associated with fecal shedding of Cryptosporidium while longer calving interval, a winter/spring calving season, and higher numbers of replacement heifers were positively associated with shedding of Giardia. The dominant species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in feces from these cow-calf herds were Cryptosporidium ryanae (75%) and assemblage E for Giardia duodenalis (90%), which have low impact on public health compared with other zoonotic species/genotypes of these two parasites. We identified host and potential management practices that can be used to protect cattle health and reduce the risk of surface water contamination with protozoal parasites from cow-calf operations. In addition, this work updated the scientific data regarding the predominance of low zoonotic genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia shed in the feces of commercial cow-calf herds on California rangeland and irrigated pasture.
- beneficial management practices
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law