Strongylus vulgaris associated with usage of selective therapy on Danish horse farms-Is it reemerging?

Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: .
Veterinary Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.38). 05/2012; 189(2-4):260-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.04.039
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nematodes belonging to the order Strongylida are ubiquitous in grazing horses, and the large strongyle Strongylus vulgaris is considered the most pathogenic. This parasite was originally described widely prevalent in equine establishments, but decades of frequent anthelmintic treatment appears to have reduced the prevalence dramatically. Increasing levels of anthelmintic resistance in cyathostomin parasites have led to implementation of selective therapy to reduce further development of resistance. It has been hypothesized that S. vulgaris could reoccur under these less intensive treatment circumstances. The aim with the present study was to evaluate the occurrence of S. vulgaris and the possible association with usage of selective therapy. A total of 42 horse farms in Denmark were evaluated for the presence of S. vulgaris using individual larval cultures. Farms were either using a selective therapy principle based on regular fecal egg counts from all horses, or they treated strategically without using fecal egg counts. A total of 662 horses were included in the study. Covariate information at the farm and horse level was collected using a questionnaire. The overall prevalence of S. vulgaris was 12.2% at the individual level and 64.3% at the farm level. Farms using selective therapy had horse and farm prevalences of 15.4% and 83.3%, respectively, while the corresponding results for farms not using selective therapy were 7.7% and 38.9%. These findings were found statistically significant at both the horse and the farm level. Stud farms using selective therapy were especially at risk, and occurrence of S. vulgaris was significantly associated with the most recent deworming occurring more than six months prior. The results suggest that a strict interpretation of the selective therapy regimen can be associated with an increased prevalence of S. vulgaris. This suggests that modifications of the parasite control programs could be considered on the studied farms, but it remains unknown to which extent this can be associated with increased health risks for infected horses.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The level of anthelmintic resistance within some cyathostomin parasite populations has increased to the level where sole reliance on anthelmintic-based control protocols is not possible. Management-based nematode control methods, including removal of faeces from pasture, are widely recommended for use in association with a reduction in anthelmintic use to reduce selection pressure for drug resistance; however, very little work has been performed to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of such methods. We analysed data obtained from 345 donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary (Devon, UK), managed under three different pasture management techniques, to investigate the effectiveness of faeces removal in strongyle control in equids. The management groups were as follows: no removal of faeces from pasture, manual, twice-weekly removal of faeces from pasture and automatic, twice-weekly removal of faeces from pasture (using a mechanical pasture sweeper). From turn-out onto pasture in May, monthly faecal egg counts were obtained for each donkey and the dataset subjected to an auto regressive moving average model. There was little to no difference in faecal egg counts between the two methods of faecal removal; both resulted in significantly improved cyathostomin control compared to the results obtained from the donkeys that grazed pasture from which there was no faecal removal. This study represents a valuable and unique assessment of the effectiveness of the removal of equine faeces from pasture, and provides an evidence base from which to advocate twice-weekly removal of faeces from pasture as an adjunct for equid nematode control. Widespread adoption of this practice could substantially reduce anthelmintic usage, and hence reduce selection pressure for nematode resistance to the currently effective anthelmintic products.
    Parasites & Vectors 01/2014; 7(1):48. · 3.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of an oral treatment with ivermectin (IVM) or moxidectin (MOX) against gastro-intestinal strongyles in naturally infected horses by performing a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) and by monitoring the egg reappearance period (ERP) after treatment. Therefore, a field efficacy study with a randomised complete block design for each study site was conducted, with the individual animal as the experimental unit. At least 10 study sites in Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands were selected and animals were allocated to one of two treatment groups based on the pre-treatment faecal egg counts (FEC). Animals were treated on Day 0 with an oral paste containing either IVM (at 0.2 mg/kg bodyweight) or MOX (at 0.4 mg/kg bodyweight). After treatment, faecal samples were collected at least every fortnight during 56 days after treatment with IVM and during 84 days after MOX treatment. In total, 320 horses on 32 farms were examined. The FECRT on Day 14 indicated a 100% efficacy in 59 of the 64 treatment groups and >92% efficacy in the remaining 5 groups. The ERP was decreased for at least one of the anthelmintics on 17 out of 32 study sites (15 sites or 47% for MOX and 17sites or 53% for IVM) and on 9 sites (28%) the ERP was decreased for both anthelmintics. On some of these study sites the efficacy declined at the end of the expected ERP, often with good efficacy 2 weeks earlier. Nevertheless, on 1, 3 and 5 study sites in Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands respectively, an efficacy below 90% for IVM and MOX was identified as soon as Day 42 or Day 56. In The Netherlands, the efficacy of IVM was below 90% from Day 28 or Day 35 after treatment on 1 site each. The present study reports a high efficacy of MOX and IVM in a FECRT 14 days after treatment, yet does indicate a shortened ERP for these treatments in more than half of the selected study sites.
    Veterinary Parasitology. 01/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Since the 1960s equine parasite control has relied heavily on frequent anthelmintic treatments often applied with frequent intervals year-round. However, increasing levels of anthelmintic resistance in cyathostomins and Parascaris equorum are now forcing the equine industry to change to a more surveillance-based treatment approach to facilitate a reduction in treatment intensity. The principle of selective therapy has been implemented with success in small ruminant parasite control, and has also found use in horse populations. Typically, egg counts are performed from all individuals in the population, and those exceeding a predetermined cutoff threshold are treated. Several studies document the applicability of this method in populations of adult horses, where the overall cyathostomin egg shedding can be controlled by only treating about half the horses. However, selective therapy has not been evaluated in foals and young horses, and it remains unknown whether the principle is adequate to also provide control over other important parasites such as tapeworms, ascarids, and large strongyles. One recent study associated selective therapy with increased occurrence of Strongylus vulgaris. Studies are needed to evaluate potential health risks associated with selective therapy, and to assess to which extent development of anthelmintic resistance can be delayed with this approach. The choice of strongyle egg count cutoff value for anthelmintic treatment is currently based more on tradition than science, and a recent publication illustrated that apparently healthy horses with egg counts below 100 eggs per gram (EPG) can harbor cyathostomin burdens in the range of 100,000 luminal worms. It remains unknown whether leaving such horses untreated constitutes a potential threat to equine health. The concept of selective therapy has merit for equine strongyle control, but several questions remain as it has not been fully scientifically evaluated. There is a great need for new and improved methods for diagnosis and surveillance to supplement or replace the fecal egg counts, and equine health parameters need to be included in studies evaluating any parasite control program.
    Veterinary Parasitology 05/2014; 202(3-4):95-103. · 2.38 Impact Factor


Available from
May 29, 2014