Monitoring equine ascarid and cyathostomin parasites: Evaluating health parameters under different treatment regimens

Martin K. Nielsen, Erica K. Gee, Alyse Hansen, Tania Waghorn, Julie Bell, Dave M. Leathwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Strongylid and ascarid parasites are omnipresent in equine stud farms, and ever-increasing levels of anthelmintic resistance are challenging the industry with finding more sustainable and yet effective parasite control programs. Objectives: To evaluate egg count levels, bodyweight and equine health under defined parasite control protocols in foals and mares at two Standardbred and two Thoroughbred stud farms. Study design: Longitudinal randomised field trial. Methods: A total of 93 foals were enrolled and split into two treatment groups, and 99 mares were enrolled and assigned to three treatment groups. All horses underwent a health examination, and episodes of colic or diarrhoea were recorded at each faecal collection date. Bodyweights were assessed using a weight tape, and mares were body condition scored. Group A foals (FA) were dewormed at 2 and 5 months of age with a fenbendazole/ivermectin/praziquantel product, while group B foals (FB) were dewormed on a monthly basis, alternating between the above-mentioned product and an oxfendazole/pyrantel embonate product. Group A mares (MA) were dewormed twice with fenbendazole/ivermectin/praziquantel, group B mares (MB) were dewormed with the same product, when egg counts exceeded 300 strongylid eggs per gram, and group C mares (MC) were dewormed every 2 months, alternating between the two products. Health data were collected monthly for 6 months (foals) and bimonthly for 13 months (mares). Data were analysed with mixed linear models and interpreted at the α = 0.05 significance level. Results: There were no significant bodyweight differences between foal groups, but MA mares were significantly lighter than the other two groups. Very few health incidents were recorded. Foals in group FA had significantly higher ascarid and strongylid egg counts, whereas no significant differences were observed between mare groups. Main limitations: Study duration limited to one season. Conclusions: Anthelmintic treatment intensity was lowered from the traditional intensive regimes without measurable negative health consequences for mares and foals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-910
Number of pages9
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 EVJ Ltd


  • ascarid
  • control
  • deworming
  • health
  • horse
  • strongylid
  • weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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