Epidemiology and control of equine strongylosis at Newmarket

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Summary

Seasonal rises in mean faecal egg output were observed in grazing ponies in spring (578 eggs per gram) and in summer (930 epg) on 30 April and 2 September, respectively, in untreated ponies. Pasture infectivity reached a peak of 18,486 third stage larvae (L3)/kg on 17 September, two weeks after peak egg counts, coincidental with abundant September rainfall (103.0 mm). Differentiation of infective larvae from pasture showed the cyathostomes (small strongyles) to be predominant, but Trichostrongylus axei assumed major importance from late August to October. The large strongyles were rarely detected: Strongylus vulgaris was found only once and S edentatus only twice. The most effective parasite prophylaxis was achieved by twice weekly removal of faeces. In this group, concentrations of infective L3 on pasture reached a maximum of 1000 L3/kg, compared to 18,486 L3/kg for a control group and 4850 to 10,210 L3/kg for anthelmintic treatment groups. The removal of faeces increased the grazing area by about 50 per cent, by eliminating the characteristic separation of horse pasture into roughs and lawns. Spring and summer anthelmintic treatments of mature ponies with oxibendazole were effective in reducing the late season rise in pasture infectivity to 4850 L3/kg, but treatment of young ponies (mainly yearlings) with ivermectin every eight weeks or oxibendazole every four weeks resulted in pasture infectivity as high as 10,000 L3/kg. There was evidence of cyathostome resistance to benzimidazole drugs.

Ancillary