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Field studies indicating reduced activity of ivermectin on small strongyles in horses on a farm in Central Kentucky

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Field studies (n = 6) were completed on evaluation of activity of ivermectin (200 μg/kg) paste formulation against small strongyles in horses (foals, yearlings, and older animals) on a farm (Farm MC) in Central Kentucky in late 2006 and during 2007. A girth tape was used to estimate body weights which were then used to calculate the proper dose rate of ivermectin. The foals, yearlings, and some of the older horses were born and raised on the farm. However, most of the older horses which were not raised on the farm had been there for several years. The horse herd was given ivermectin exclusively, usually four times a year, since 1990. An exception was that during the foal’s period of life fenbendazole, pyrantel pamoate, and oxibendazole were given occasionally besides ivermectin. Efficacy of drug activity was determined by pretreatment and posttreatment counts of strongyle eggs per gram of feces (EPGs). Culture of strongyle eggs in feces from some of the horses showed that only small strongyle larvae were present. The research included two studies (A and B) in foals (n = 24) and four studies (C, D, E, and F) in yearlings (n = 13) alone or with older horses (n = 10). For each of the studies (B through F), there was a treated and a nontreated group. These groups were switched for each treatment, i.e., the treated group in one study was the nontreated group in the next study and vice versa. Eggs per gram of feces counts were determined at 1- or 2-week posttreatment intervals for 4 weeks for study A and 6 weeks for studies B through F. Also, for studies B, E, and F, counts of EPGs were done either two or three times during the third week posttreatment. The studies showed a similar posttreatment pattern of strongyle EPG counts beginning to return at about 4 weeks and increasing at 5 and 6 weeks posttreatment. Two horses in study E and one in study F had low EPG values toward the end of the third week posttreatment. The results of this ivermectin investigation showed that the strongyle EPG counts started returning about twice as quickly post-ivermectin-treatment of horses than when the drug was first marketed in the early 1980s.

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This investigation (Paper No. 08-14-004) was made in connection with a project of the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the director.

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Correspondence to E. T. Lyons.

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Lyons, E.T., Tolliver, S.C., Ionita, M. et al. Field studies indicating reduced activity of ivermectin on small strongyles in horses on a farm in Central Kentucky. Parasitol Res 103, 209–215 (2008).

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