Improved education of veterinarians and equine owners/managers is essential in implementing parasite control strategies that are less reliant on chemicals.
This questionnaire study, conducted on 61 UK Thoroughbred (TB) establishments during 2009 and 2010, was designed to obtain an understanding of current helminth control practices on studs. To our knowledge, this is the first occasion that statements obtained from TB studs via questionnaire have been supported by statistical analysis.
Despite many respondents indicating high levels of concern regarding anthelmintic resistance, 56% of these establishments that received visiting equines co-grazed these animals with permanent stock and <74% administered anthelmintics prior to integration. In the 12 months preceding the study, most respondents administered frequent macrocyclic lactone (ML) treatments, with none appearing to leave any animals in groups untreated at each administration. Indiscriminate whole group treatments with MLs and movement of animals to 'clean grazing' post treatment (reported by >25% of respondents), indicates that many stud owners/managers are not aware of the strong risk factors for the development of anthelmintic resistance. Few studs had conducted faecal egg count (FEC) analysis in the past and only 22% indicated that they considered this form of analysis beneficial in determining anthelmintic choice.
The challenge now is to convince stud owners/managers to deviate from their current practices to control strategies that are more likely to preserve anthelmintic efficacy. Veterinarians need to get more involved in implementing these control strategies, with better emphasis placed on the role of diagnostic tests in facilitating targeted treatments and in investigating anthelmintic sensitivity in the associated nematode populations.
"Whole herd or blanket treatments and treating more frequently than required are considered to contribute to the development of anthelmintic resistance (AR), as these treatment regimes reduce the refugia with susceptible isolates. Furthermore, other management practices contribute to the spread of resistance genes: for instance, more than half of the horse establishments in the UK receive visiting horses and, of these horses, 3 out of 4 are actually dewormed prior to integration (Relf et al., 2012). As a result, AR in horse Cyathostominae has been reported worldwide for benzimidazoles and to a lesser extent for pyrantel. "
[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.
"Equine parasite control programs are currently undergoing profound changes. Traditional approaches have been based on frequent anthelmintic treatment applied to all horses with regular intervals throughout the year (Lloyd et al., 2000; Matthee et al., 2002; O'Meara and Mulcahy, 2002; Relf et al., 2012), however past decades have documented wide occurrences of anthelmintic resistance in cyathostomins (Kaplan et al., 2004; Traversa et al., 2009; Lyons et al., 2009, 2011) and Parascaris equorum (Boersema et al., 2002; Hearn and Peregrine, 2003; Schougaard and Nielsen, 2007; Veronesi et al., 2010). The pace of developing and introducing new anthelmintic formulations for control of equine parasites does not appear to keep up with the rate of resistance development, and no new anthelmintic drug classes with new modes of actions have been introduced for equine usage since ivermectin in the early 1980s. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to widespread development of anthelmintic resistance in equine parasites, recommendations for their control are currently undergoing marked changes with a shift of emphasis toward more coprological surveillance and reduced treatment intensity. Denmark was the first nation to introduce prescription-only restrictions of anthelmintic drugs in 1999, but other European countries have implemented similar legislations over recent years. A questionnaire survey was performed in 2008 among Danish horse owners to provide a current status of practices and perceptions with relation to parasite control. Questions aimed at describing the current use of coprological surveillance and resulting anthelmintic treatment intensities, evaluating knowledge and perceptions about the importance of various attributes of parasite control, and assessing respondents' willingness to pay for advice and parasite surveillance services from their veterinarians. A total of 1060 respondents completed the questionnaire. A large majority of respondents (71.9%) were familiar with the concept of selective therapy. Results illustrated that the respondents' self-evaluation of their knowledge about parasites and their control associated significantly with their level of interest in the topic and their type of education (P<0.0001). The large majority of respondents either dewormed their horses twice a year and/or performed two fecal egg counts per horse per year. This approach was almost equally pronounced in foals, horses aged 1-3 years old, and adult horses. The respondents rated prevention of parasitic disease and prevention of drug resistance as the most important attributes, while cost and frequent fecal testing were rated least important. Respondents' actual spending on parasite control per horse in the previous year correlated significantly with the amount they declared themselves willing to spend (P<0.0001). However, 44.4% declared themselves willing to pay more than what they were spending. Altogether, results indicate that respondents were generally familiar with equine parasites and the concept of selective therapy, although there was some confusion over the terms small and large strongyles. They used a large degree of fecal surveillance in all age groups, with a majority of respondents sampling and/or treating around twice a year. Finally, respondents appeared willing to spend money on parasite control for their horses. It is of concern that the survey suggested that foals and young horses are treated in a manner very similar to adult horses, which is against current recommendations. Thus, the survey illustrates the importance of clear communication of guidelines for equine parasite control.
"The advent of the first modern affordable and safe anthelmintic formulations in the 1960s led to recommending preventive parasite control programs based on treatments applied with regular intervals year-round (Drudge and Lyons, 1966). A large number of questionnaire surveys have documented that frequent anthelmintic treatments applied prophylactically to all horses on every farm has become the norm for parasite control, and remains so in many regions of the world (Lloyd et al., 2000, Matthee et al., 2002; O'Meara and Mulcahy, 2002; Relf et al., 2012). Over the past decades, anthelmintic resistance has been documented with increasing frequency in horse farms across the world. "
[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.
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