Helminth infections in Italian donkeys: Strongylus vulgaris more common than Dictyocaulus arnfieldi

F. Buono, F. Veronesi, L. Pacifico, C. Roncoroni, E. Napoli, S. A. Zanzani, U. Mariani, B. Neola, G. Sgroi, D. Piantedosi, M. K. Nielsen, V. Veneziano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Donkeys have been used as working animals for transport and farm activities worldwide. Recently, in European countries, there has been an increasing interest in donkeys due to their use as pets, onotherapy or milk production. During 2014-2016, a countrywide survey was conducted to determine prevalence and risk factors of principal helminth infections in 1775 donkeys in 77 Italian farms. A questionnaire on management and parasite control practices was filled out for each farm. Faecal samples were examined using a modified McMaster technique, a centrifugation/flotation method and a sedimentation technique. Pooled coprocultures were performed for differentiation of strongylid eggs. Strongyles were the most common parasites detected (84.9%), followed by Dictyocaulus arnfieldi (6.9%), Oxyuris equi (5.8%), Parascaris spp. (3.6%), Anoplocephala spp. (1.0%), Strongyloides westeri (0.3%). Coprocultures revealed an omnipresence of cyathostomins (100%), followed by Strongylus vulgaris (31.0%), Poteriostomum spp. (25.0%), Triodontophorus spp. (9.0%), Strongylus edentatus (7.0%), Strongylus equinus (5.0%). Logistic regression analysis identified breed, co-pasture with horses, living area, herd size and number of treatments as significantly associated with strongyles. Sex, age, living area and herd size were significantly associated with Parascaris spp. Dictyocaulus arnfieldi was significantly associated with sex, grass, co-pasture with horses, living area and herd size. Strongylus vulgaris was significantly associated with living area and herd size. The mean number of anthelmintic treatments/year was 1.4; most of the donkeys (71.8%) were dewormed using an ivermectin drug. It is important to design parasite programs to specifically address both D. arnfieldi and S. vulgaris in donkeys, and this is especially important if donkeys co-graze with horses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Helminthology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press.


  • Donkey
  • Italy
  • Strongylus vulgaris
  • control practices
  • endoparasites
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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