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Fecal egg counts after anthelmintic administration to aged horses and horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction

Dianne McFarlaneDepartment of Physiological Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Grace M. HaleDepartment of Physiological Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Eileen M. JohnsonDepartments of Physiological Sciences and Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Lara K. MaxwellDepartment of Physiological Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine effects of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (Cushing's disease) and age on fecal egg count and time to egg reappearance after anthelmintic treatment in horses residing in similar environments.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—29 healthy horses (4 to 35 years old) and 13 horses with PPID (13 to 33 years old).

Procedures—Fecal egg counts were performed by use of a modified Wisconsin flotation method at 2-week intervals before and after ivermectin treatment.

Results—Horses with PPID had higher fecal egg counts before and 8, 10, and 12 weeks after ivermectin treatment, compared with counts for site-matched healthy horses. There was no difference in the period for < 90% reduction in fecal egg counts between the 2 groups. Age did not affect fecal egg counts at any time point.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For similar environmental conditions, horses with PPID were more likely to have higher fecal egg counts than were healthy horses. Therefore, horses with PPID may need to have a more aggressive parasite prevention program than do healthy horses. Age did not affect fecal egg counts or time to egg reappearance after anthelmintic treatment, which suggested age alone does not likely require special consideration when designing a parasite control program for adult horses.

Abstract

Objective—To determine effects of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (Cushing's disease) and age on fecal egg count and time to egg reappearance after anthelmintic treatment in horses residing in similar environments.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—29 healthy horses (4 to 35 years old) and 13 horses with PPID (13 to 33 years old).

Procedures—Fecal egg counts were performed by use of a modified Wisconsin flotation method at 2-week intervals before and after ivermectin treatment.

Results—Horses with PPID had higher fecal egg counts before and 8, 10, and 12 weeks after ivermectin treatment, compared with counts for site-matched healthy horses. There was no difference in the period for < 90% reduction in fecal egg counts between the 2 groups. Age did not affect fecal egg counts at any time point.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For similar environmental conditions, horses with PPID were more likely to have higher fecal egg counts than were healthy horses. Therefore, horses with PPID may need to have a more aggressive parasite prevention program than do healthy horses. Age did not affect fecal egg counts or time to egg reappearance after anthelmintic treatment, which suggested age alone does not likely require special consideration when designing a parasite control program for adult horses.

Contributor Notes

Support for Ms. Hale was provided by the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Research Scholars Program and by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources (grant No. T35 RR07061).

Address correspondence to Dr. McFarlane (diannem@okstate.edu).