Molecular detection of Strongyloides sp. in Australian Thoroughbred foals

Ghazanfar Abbas, Abdul Ghafar, Anson V. Koehler, Jenni Bauquier, Edwina J.A. Wilkes, Caroline Jacobson, Anne Beasley, John Hurley, Lucy Cudmore, Peter Carrigan, Brett Tennent-Brown, Charles El-Hage, Martin K. Nielsen, Charles G. Gauci, Kristopher J. Hughes, Ian Beveridge, Abdul Jabbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Strongyloides westeri is found in the small intestine of young horses, mainly in foals up to about 16 weeks of age. The main source of infection for foals is through transmammary transmission, and foals can develop acute diarrhoea, weakness, dermatitis and respiratory signs. The epidemiology of S. westeri in Australia is largely unknown. Further, molecular techniques have never been employed for detection of S. westeri in horses. This pilot study aimed to assess the utility of a molecular phylogenetic method for the detection of S. westeri in the faeces of foals. Methods: Faecal samples were collected from a foal of less than 2 months of age, and eggs of Strongyloides sp. were detected using the modified McMaster technique. DNA was extracted from purified eggs, and a partial fragment of the small subunit of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (18S) was characterised using polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing and phylogenetic methods. Results: Microscopic examination of faeces revealed small ellipsoidal eggs typical of Strongyloides sp. The 18S sequence generated by PCR in this study revealed 98.4% identity with that of a reference sequence of S. westeri available from GenBank. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a polyphyletic clustering of S. westeri sequences. Conclusion: This is the first study reporting the detection of DNA of Strongyloides sp. in faeces of a foal using a molecular phylogenetic approach targeting the variable region of 18S rDNA. It is anticipated that this study will allow future molecular epidemiological studies on S. westeri in horses. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number444
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Australian Thoroughbred horses
  • Genetic characterisation
  • Sanger sequencing
  • Strongyloides sp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • General Veterinary
  • Parasitology


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