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Frequently Asked Questions

Alpheus anti-parasitic capsules are a unique patented capsule that give +/- 125 days broad spectrum protection against parasites.  Due to the “captec” technology it is easy to administer with 100% retention rate in all trials to date.  It prevents parasites getting to the adult stage by killing the incoming larvae thus in turn minimising early gut damage.

The capsule floats in the rumen so can be given concurrently with other treatments that sink in the rumen without any issues e.g. FE boluses, trace element boluses

Applicator allows simultaneous administration with other CR boluses

Alpheus anti-parasitic capsules have been developed by Argenta pharmaceuticals.  Argenta is a privately owned New Zealand company located in Manurewa, Auckland.

They are FDA, APVMA and ACVM accredited.  They are the patent holders of the Captec Technology.  Argenta are contracted by Sirona Animal Health to manufacture Alpheus.

Sirona Animal Health was established in 2012 by Dr Claire Nicholson, a kiwi veterinarian. Claire worked as a consultant to a number of companies involved in the animal health space in NZ.

Whilst working with their customers – the farmers - she identified some key areas where farmers were having difficulty maximising production with the tools currently available.  Sirona was established to develop unique animal health products that addressed the gaps identified.

Sirona are very excited to be releasing such a unique product as the Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule

Sirona’s Alpheus controlled release capsule is a patented design that releases 13.72mg of abamectin per day into your cattle for +/- 125 days (slow constant release).

Simultaneously with the application of the capsule, one or two primer tablets (depending on the weight of the cattle) are inserted.  The primer tablet contains Levamisole and Oxfendazole which kills all stages of susceptible  parasites that are already existing in the cattle giving them a “clean out” dose.  The capsule then slowly releases a daily dose of abamectin that targets the the L3 larvae as they are ingested by the cattle.

The larvae are killed preventing worms developing further thus minimising potential gut damage.

The Primer tablets contain Oxfendazole and levamisole.  The purpose of the primer tablet is to kill all susceptible L3’s, L4’s and adult worms in the host within 48 hours of application.  This gives the cattle a “cleanout” dose.  At the same time  the controlled release capsule begins releasing abamectin.

Abamectin.  This releases from the CRC at a rate of 13.72 mg per day for +/- 125 days.

Sirona’s Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule with  primer, provides an initial clean out of all adult worms then four months (+/- 125 days) of continuous protection against new infections of parasites.

During the Autumn months the level of parasite larvae in the pasture increases significantly, which means the animal’s intake also increases. With high levels of larval intake severe damage to the gut lining can occur well before an increase in egg counts is observed. This damage could result in a decrease in growth rates and in some cases may even result in weight loss.

The Alpheus primer dose- given at the same time as the capsule- kills all susceptible L3’s, L4’s and adult worms in the host within 48 hours of application.  This gives the cattle a “cleanout” dose.  The Alpheus anti parasitic capsule  then releases a continuous dose of active which kills the larvae before they can attach and feed off the gut lining. This also prevents the larvae maturing into egg producing adults thus reducing recontamination of pastures.

Along with the initial “clean out dose” controlled constant protection provided by Sirona’s Alpheus capsule limits damage done by parasites and breaks the reinfection cycle. The result is positive animal growth, positive profits and efficient time management on the farm.

Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule and primer are designed to be used over the autumn when the larval flush on pasture is at its highest and the parasite challenge is at a maximum level. Treatment could be anytime between late January and early March to ensure maximum protection is provided through critical time periods.

Sirona’s Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule and primer are intended to be used in conjunction with other parasite management techniques i.e. correct pasture management, stock rotation, FEC testing.  This may include the implementation of refugia in a targeted treatment strategy.

It is recommended that the capsule is only used once a year in R1 cattle to minimse the length of exposure that the parasites have to abamectin.

The most effective time to use Alpheus is in the autumn to protect against the rapid rise in larval numbers on the pasture.

Where the resistance status of a property is unknown it recommended that FEC monitoring is implemented at day 50 and 100. Where there is evidence of an increase in egg counts it is recommended to give an exit dose at day 125.

During the safety trials for the capsule cattle were overdosed. Three groups of animals weighing 145-165kg were treated as per follows;

Group one: 5 animals, no treatment

Group two: 5 animals, one abamectin capsule and two primer tablets

Group three: 10 animals, two abamectin capsules and four primer tablets

All animals were monitored hourly on day 1, daily on days 3, 5, 7 and weekly out to day 119. Clinical assessment included Heart rate , temperature, weight, haematology andbiochemistry.

No abnormal clinical or behavioural symptoms were observed over the entire period.

 With any active there is always potential for resistance to develop.  In the development of the Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule sustainability of the product’s efficacy was a primary consideration.

A couple of important features of the product were developed that will aid to slow the development of resistance.

  1. The capsule releases a constant dose of active, which maintains the level above the recommended therapeutic level for 125 days.  Most importantly drug release starts quickly and stops abruptly minimising the resistance inducing tail - time below the therapeutic level.
  2. The Alpheus capsule has been specifically designed to target the incoming larvae (L3 stage) of the life cycle which requires a lower dose of abamectin to be effective. Studies have shown that the

level of drug released is also sufficient to kill incoming larvae in populations with resistance to ML’s.

The product features are only one part of the resistance story. The capsule should be used as a tool in a parasite management programme that is backed up by a robust diagnostic, monitoring, grazing and treatment regime. It is recommended that the capsule is only used once a year to reduce the exposure of parasites on the property to the low level of abamectin.

No. Other anti-parasitic products on the market work on killing all stages of parasites for a short period of time. Essentially they are similar to the primer treatment used with the CRC. No other product has the 125 day continuous efficacy against the ingested L3 that Sirona’s Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule has.

Our studies have shown that the same or better weight gains can be achieved with one capsule when compared to four triple active oral drenches or two dual active injections through the same period.

Sirona’s capsule and primer tablets are very easily administered together with the applicator that has been specifically designed for the job. With its unique flattened head insertion into the animal’s oesophagus is very easy. By gently “walking “ the head  into the throat of the animal a swallow reflex will be stimulated allowing the applicator to be passed all the way down to the rumen.  The products’ unique d “wings” will then flick up preventing regurgitation of the device.

[Insert diagrams from instruction leaflet. Could replace all of above with full instruction leaflet?]

With the correct use of Alpheus anti-parasitic capsules you could minimise gut damage due to parasitism in your cattle for +/- 125 days. As it is likely that gut damage at this time leads to more permanent effects) leading to reduced production, protection with Alpheus antiparasitic capsules could in turn result in greater weight gain, increased milk production and higher conception rates.  This all equals increased profits.

With the Alpheus anti-parasitic capsule your cattle have full parasite protection for +/- 125 days, therefore you only have to bring your cattle in once in a four month period saving you valuable labour time.  With all other anti-parasitic products available in New Zealand the recommended dosing is every 28 days.

Yes you may simultaneously treat with other controlled release products such as zinc for FE and trace elements.  As the Alpheus capsule floats on top of the ruminal fluid it does not impact on other treatments that sink to the bottom such as zinc boluses.


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