Management practices associated with strongylid parasite prevalence on horse farms in rural counties of Kentucky

J. A. Scare, A. E. Steuer, H. S. Gravatte, Cs Kálmán, L. Ramires, L. L. Dias de Castro, J. K. Norris, F. Miller, F. Camargo, A. Lawyer, P. De Pedro, B. Jolly, M. K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Anthelmintic resistance among cyathostomin parasites is a wide-spread problem. The parasite control guidelines written by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) encourages the preservation of anthelmintic efficacy by reducing treatment frequency, using targeted deworming, and implementing environmental management practices. While there is knowledge regarding parasite management practices of affluent horse farms in the United States, surveys rarely explore the rural and underserved regions. The purpose of this study was to observe the management practices of horse farms in rural regions Kentucky, including working Amish farms, and determine factors associated with strongyle prevalence. A total of 160 horses among 38 owners from 28 different farms were enrolled in this study. A questionnaire survey regarding equine information, farm management, and deworming history was performed with each owner. Fecal samples were collected to determine fecal egg counts, perform coprocultures for subsequent strongyle larvae identification, and Strongylus vulgaris specific PCR. Serum samples were collected for the S. vulgaris antibody specific ELISA. The mean number of deworming treatments given in the last year was 2.1 with a 95% confidence interval of 1.9–2.3 with ivermectin being the most common active used. Statistical analysis showed horses treated within the last three months with a macrocylic lactone (ML) drug had significantly lower egg counts than horses treated with a ML 7–9 months ago (p =.0005). Despite the AAEP recommendations to reduce the overall number of treatments by using a surveillance-based approach and to no longer rotate treatments, only 17 horses reportedly had a fecal sample submitted for a fecal egg count and 65 horses were dewormed in a rotational manner. Horses whose owners utilized an informative deworming source (i.e., veterinarian, internet, magazine, local feed store) also had significantly lower counts (p =.0026). All coprocultures were negative for S. vulgaris while five horses were PCR positive. Interestingly, 95 horses tested ELISA positive for S. vulgaris. The strongyle egg counts of the working Amish horses were not significantly different from the other horses in this study and deworming practices including the use of efficacious drugs and low treatment frequencies were in accordance with the AAEP guidelines. This study was the first to summarize deworming management practices of rural regions in Kentucky, including a working Amish community. Overall, horse owners employed deworming practices recommended by the AAEP, however rotational deworming is still commonly implemented and fecal egg counts are rarely used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Amish
  • Equine
  • Management
  • Rural
  • Strongyle
  • Strongylus vulgaris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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