This study compares the susceptibility to Haemonchus contortus infection in two breeds of sheep endemic to the Canary Islands, the Canaria Hair Breed sheep and the Canaria sheep. Sheep were experimentally infected with 20,000 larvae of H. contortus and animals killed on days 7 and 28 post-infection. No difference between sheep breeds were detected in immature worm counts at days 7 or 28 post-infection. However, in comparison to the Canaria sheep breed, the Canaria Hair Breed sheep showed lower mean faecal egg counts, lower adult worm counts, lower number of eggs in utero and female worm stunting. Overall, these data suggest that the Canaria Hair Breed sheep has a greater resistance to H. contortus infection than Canaria sheep, and that this resistance may act at the level of the adult parasite.
In the current study, three independent trials directly compared Fasciola gigantica and Fasciola hepatica infection of ITT sheep. In all trials, F. hepatica infection resulted in higher worm burden recoveries and greater physiological damage to ITT sheep. Developmental differences of the two Fasciola species were also observed during the first twelve weeks of a primary infection, where the migration and growth of F. hepatica was more rapid than F. gigantica. Various immunological blood parameters were measured and indicated similar kinetics in the humoral and cellular responses during the time course of infection with each Fasciola species. In contrast to F. hepatica infection, we demonstrate an innate and adaptive comparative ability of ITT sheep to resist the early stages of infection with F. gigantica infection. Unraveling the mechanisms leading to this differential resistance may potentially lead to new methods for the control of fasciolosis and other human liver flukes.