Objective evaluation of two deworming regimens in young Thoroughbreds using parasitological and performance parameters

Jennifer L. Bellaw, Joe Pagan, Steve Cadell, Eileen Phethean, John M. Donecker, Martin K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Parasitic helminths of equids are capable of causing ill-thrift, clinical disease, and death. Although young horses are the most susceptible to parasitic disease and are the most intensively treated cohort, deworming regimens are rarely evaluated within this age group. This study objectively evaluated the impact of deworming regimen on fecal egg counts (FECs), growth rates, and body-condition scores in young Thoroughbreds. Forty-eight Thoroughbred foals from three central Kentucky farms were randomly allocated to two treatment groups: an interval dose program receiving bi-monthly rotations of pyrantel pamoate and ivermectin and a daily deworming group receiving daily rations of pyrantel tartrate feed additive throughout the study, oxibendazole at two months of age, and moxidectin treatments at 9.5 and 16.5 months of age. Pre- and post-treatment eggs per gram of feces (EPGs) of Parascaris spp. and strongyle family parasites, gel/paste dewormer efficacies, and monthly weights and body condition scores were collected. Ascarid and strongyle FECs were not significantly different between groups but were significantly influenced by horse age with strongyle counts continually increasing and ascarid counts peaking at 4.5 months of age. Reduced strongyle efficacies of ivermectin and moxidectin were observed on two farms with consistently low pyrantel pamoate efficacies on all three farms. Ivermectin also exhibited reduced ascarid efficacy. Average daily gain did not differ significantly between groups and was only significantly influenced by age, mirroring average daily gain reference data for Kentucky Thoroughbreds born in 2013. Body condition scores also did not differ between groups, remaining in the optimal range (5–6) for the duration of the study. Management practices resulting in growth rates matching the reference data and in optimal body condition scores compensate for the negative impacts of parasitism even in cases of reduced drug efficacy. Performance parameters can provide useful information in cases of suboptimal parasite control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
StatePublished - May 15 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was sponsored by Zoetis LLC. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge all three farms and farm staff for their participation and cooperation as well as Mr. Samuel Smith for his hard work and dedication in the laboratory.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Ascarid
  • Deworming
  • Foals
  • Growth rate
  • Strongyle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Veterinary (all)


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