Parascaris spp. eggs shedding patterns in juvenile horses

Nichol E. Ripley, Holli S. Gravatte, Leah N. Britton, Sarah M. Davis, Grace M. Perrin, Shaelin Warner, Elizabeth K. Rexroat, Abigail L. Vetter, Emily E.S. Maron, Constance A. Finnerty, Victoria Stanton, Martin K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parascaris spp. infect foals worldwide and foals typically shed eggs in the feces from about three to six months of age, upon which natural immunity is incurred. High levels of anthelmintic resistance of Parascaris spp. are a global concern, and further understanding egg shedding patterns and fecal egg counting (FEC) data variability is of high importance. The aims of this study were to monitor Parascaris spp. egg shedding in untreated foals during 12–23 weeks of age, estimate sources of data variability, and assess precision of two ascarid FEC techniques. Fecal samples were collected weekly from 11 foals born in 2022, from May through November (29 weeks). Six subsamples were extracted from each weekly sample to determine 30 FECs between two techniques: a McMaster technique and an Automated Egg Counting System (AECS). Mixed linear modeling was carried out with age, sex, birth month, seasonality, spring- or summer-born foals, and egg counting technique as explanatory variables. Ascarid FECs were associated with age (p < 0.001), seasonality (p < 0.001), and technique (p < 0.001). The McMaster technique was more precise with a mean coefficient of variation (CV) of 34.57% and a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 30.80%− 38.30% compared to the CV for the AECS, which was 42.22% (CI: 37.70%−46.70%). Seasonality accounted for the highest proportion of variance (PV) of all covariates, but differences in PVs for covariates existed between techniques with foal age and subsample contributing more variance to the McMaster, and individual foal and seasonality contributing more to the AECS. Subsamples and replicate counts accounted for less than 1% of the total data variance. The results highlighted substantial differences in PVs between the two techniques at the subsample (AECS: 57.14%; McMaster: 77.51%) and replicate count levels (AECS: 42.86%; McMaster: 22.49%). While differences in precision were observed between the two FEC techniques, they were negligible in the data set, as the overwhelming majority of the data variability in ascarid FECs was attributed to individual foal, seasonality, and foal age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110029
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Ascarid
  • Automated Egg Counting System
  • Foal
  • McMaster
  • Precision
  • Variance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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