Shortened strongylid egg reappearance periods in horses following macrocyclic lactone administration – The impact on parasite dynamics

Martin K. Nielsen, Dave M. Leathwick, Christian W. Sauermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Over the past three decades, equine strongylid egg reappearance periods (ERPs) have shortened substantially for macrocyclic lactone anthelmintics. The ERPs of ivermectin and moxidectin were originally reported in the 8–10 and 12–16 week ranges, respectively, but several recent studies have found them to be around 4–5 weeks for both actives. This loss of several weeks of suppressed strongylid egg output could have substantial implications for parasite control. This study made use of a computer simulation model to evaluate the impact of shortened ERPs on the anthelmintic performance of ivermectin and moxidectin against equine cyathostomins. The original ERPs were set to 7.1 and 15.4 weeks for ivermectin and moxidectin, respectively, while the reduced ERP was set to 4.6 weeks for both actives. Simulations were set to compare model outputs between original and reduced ERP scenarios and results expressed as percent increase in strongylid egg output, infective third stage larvae on herbage (L3h), and encysted early third stage larvae (EL3). For each drug, simulations were evaluated for two different treatment scenarios (2 and 4 treatments annually), two different age groups (yearlings and adults), and for four different climates (cold humid continental, temperate oceanic, humid subtropical, and hot/cold semi-arid). Across all simulations, there was a substantial increase of the three evaluated parameters. With the ivermectin simulations, all three parameters increased in the 100–300% range across climates, age groups and treatment intensities. The moxidectin simulations displayed a wider range of results with parameters increasing from a few hundred to several thousand percent. The increases were most pronounced for L3h in the two cooler climates, reaching as high as 6727%. Overall, the loss of anthelmintic performance was at a magnitude of 10 times larger for moxidectin compared to ivermectin. This performance loss was climate dependent, and was also affected by treatment intensity, but not by horse age. This is the first study to evaluate consequences of shortened ERPs in horses and demonstrated a substantial loss in anthelmintic performance resulting from this development. The results illustrate that anthelmintic efficacy is more than the percent reduction of fecal egg counts at 14 days post treatment, and that substantial anthelmintic performance can be lost despite FECRTs remaining at 100%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109977
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cyathostomin
  • Drug performance
  • Horse
  • Ivermectin
  • Moxidectin
  • Simulation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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