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Parasite control methods used by horse owners: factors predisposing to the development of anthelmintic resistance in nematodes
  1. S. Lloyd, MVB, PhD, VetMB, MRCVS1,
  2. J. Smith, BSc1,
  3. R. M. Connan, BVetMed, MA, PhD, MRCVS1,
  4. M. A. Hatcher, BA, VetMB, MRCVS1,
  5. T. R. Hedges, BA, VetMB, MRCVS1,
  6. D. J. Humphrey, BA, VetMB, MRCVS1 and
  7. A. C. Jones, BSc, BA, VetMB, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OES

Abstract

One hundred and fifty horse owners, primarily private owners and riding schools, replied to a questionnaire concerning the practices they used to control parasites. Twenty-seven had experienced a parasite problem. Faecal samples from 188 horses selected at random showed that worm control practices were generally successful; however, many owners were not following recommendations for slowing the development of resistant parasites. In 1996, 86 per cent of the owners were using either three or two classes of anthelmintic a year, and they used a median of six doses with a range from one to 11. Approximately half the owners, more commonly owners of up to five horses, picked up their horses' faeces at least once a week, but these owners also used more doses of anthelmintic a year than owners who did not pick up faeces. One-third of the owners manually removed Gasterophilus species eggs from the horses' hairs, but 94 per cent of them also used ivermectin. Many owners treated specifically for Anoplocephala species, cyathostome larvae and Gasterophilus species, and these owners were the most likely to use three classes of anthelmintic a year. One-hundred-and-seven owners replied to a second questionnaire asking for information about the factors that influenced their anthelmintic control practices. Many owners, particularly private owners, were not influenced by the cost of the anthelmintic. For the timing and frequency of treatment, and the choice of drug, owners were most influenced by advertisements, magazine articles and veterinary surgeons. In two magazines aimed at horse owners, the brands of drugs most frequently advertised were the brands most commonly used by the owners, and articles in the magazines recommended the use of three classes of drug per year. These results are discussed in relation to their influence on the development of anthelminticresistant nematodes.

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