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Parasite Immunology Lab


In 2012 my lab used some Texel crossbred sheep to determine the effectiveness of an immunomodulator. While results were ultimately inconclusive what was apparent was an ability of these sheep to resist infection with the gastrointestinal parasite Haemonchus contortus.

Considering these data, where Texel crossbred lambs most closely resemble known parasite resistant St. Croix sheep, there is clear evidence that Texel sheep have some level of resistance. Resistance to H. contortus infection coupled with their well-documented carcass merit position this breed to serve as the premier terminal sire with parasite resistance.

To begin our research program at WVU, we liquidated our Dorset flock and acquired a flock from a local producer who passed away suddenly in 2016. Jeff Harsh of Horse Shoe, WV had been building a flock of Texel for the past few years and had collaborated with faculty in our reproductive physiology group. In addition to purchasing this flock we received donation of ewes from Fred Hemmerly of Laceyville, PA, Dr. Charlie Wray of Caledonia, MN and Dr. Judy St. Leger of Ft. Plain, NY. In 2016, Dr. Bowdridge spoke to the national Texel breed association at their annual meeting in Sedalia, MO. While there we purchased additional ewes and two rams. We have had our first lamb crop in 2016 and have submitted performance, carcass and worm egg count data to the National Sheep Improvement Program and have received our first set of estimated breeding values (EBV) on our flock.