Feasibility of selective anthelmintic therapy to horses in tropical conditions: the Cuban scenario

Karel Gómez-Cabrera, Josmel Salas-Romero, Jorge A. Sifontes, Ramón de la Torre Cánova, Jorge E. Salas, Martin K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


For the past several decades, selective anthelmintic therapy (SAT) has been recommended in temperate climate countries for controlling gastrointestinal parasites in horses. However, the feasibility of this approach in tropical climates remains unknown, given the very different parasite transmission patterns and a larger representation of working equids. The aim of this study was to evaluate the bio-economic feasibility of SAT in horses kept under tropical conditions of Camagüey, Cuba. Fecal egg counts were determined from 794 adult horses and used for evaluating three different putative treatment thresholds; > 500 strongylid eggs per gram of feces (EPG); > 1000 EPG; and treatments yielding > 80% of the total herd egg output. These scenarios were evaluated under three treatment frequencies (every 2, 6, and 12 months). The bio-economic feasibility of these nine possible selective anthelmintic therapy scenarios was evaluated taking into account the cost of parasitological tests, and the mean cost of anthelmintic treatment in Camagüey. The majority (96.7%) of the samples tested were positive for strongyle eggs, with a mean of 1549 EPG. The percentage of horses exceeding the cut-off points at the nine scenarios varied between 40.1 and 93.8%. All owners surveyed used extra-label anthelmintic product in their horses on a routine basis. The economic analysis demonstrated that selective therapy generally was much more costly than deworming the entire herd without determining egg counts. However, we consider that the deworming every 6 months of the horses that expel 80% of the eggs in the herd allows a reduction of the treatment intensity without increasing costs, and it can be considered as a viable selective deworming scheme under similar conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number545
JournalTropical Animal Health and Production
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the University of Camagüey.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Economy
  • Horses
  • Parasitic control
  • Selective therapy
  • Tropic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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