Large Strongyle S. vulgaris Still a Risk for U.S. Horses
“S. vulgaris remains one the most dangerous parasites for horses because the migrating larvae can cause blood clots and damage to arteries leading to the abdomen, which, in turn, could result in colic,” says Jennifer Cain, MS, a PhD student and graduate research assistant in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Veterinary Science. “While S. vulgaris has largely been eliminated in domestic horse populations thanks to the power of ivermectin, unmanaged populations, including wild and feral horses, are still burdened by these parasites. When captured and adopted out, wild horses can serve as a reservoir for S. vulgaris.”
Cain reminded horse owners that with growing parasite resistance to deworming agents and no effective alternatives, exposing unmanaged horses to S. vulgaris poses potential risk.
To demonstrate the science surrounding this concern, Cain and co-workers collected fecal samples from 28 feral horses in Louisiana and 10 domestic horses living on nearby equine operations. They then performed fecal egg counts (FECs) and testing for S. vulgaris using a DNA-based analyses on samples from the horses. The researchers strategically dewormed the domestic horses—only those with FECs >200 eggs/gram of feces received a chemical dewormer as recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners
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