Background: Equine ascariosis, caused by Parascaris spp., is a worldwide endoparasitic disease affecting young horses in particular. Despite the great number of horses reared in Italy, large-scale epidemiological surveys dealing with ascariosis prevalence in the country are not reported in the current literature. For this reason, the present survey aims to describe, for the first time, the spread and infestation of Parascaris spp. in a large population of Italian horses (6896 animals) using faecal egg counts, and further to identify risk factors associated with ascarid egg shedding. Methods: Individual rectal faecal samples collected during routine veterinary examinations were used and Parascaris spp. prevalence was tested against the animal’s age, sex, housing conditions, geographic provenance as well as the respective sampling season. Results: Among the examined stables, 35.8% showed at least one horse to be positive for Parascaris spp. eggs and an overall prevalence of 6.3% was found. Ascariosis rates tended to decrease significantly with age and, proportionally, 80.0% of the recorded Parascaris spp. eggs were found in 0.7% of the examined animals. Statistically significant differences among prevalence rates were found between the different geographic areas of provenance and prevalence was found to be higher in horses reared outdoors compared to those raised indoors. Analysis of data based on sex and season did not show any significant differences. Despite the lower prevalence found compared to other European countries, ascariosis was concluded to represent a significant health challenge for horses reared in Italy, especially foals. Age (foals and yearlings) and outdoor rearing were identified to be significant risk factors for Parascaris spp. egg shedding. Furthermore, the relevance of the infected horses over 6 years of age should not be underestimated as these represent a significant source of contamination for younger animals. Conclusions: The development of improved treatment protocols based on regular faecal examination combined with follow-up assessment of the efficacy of integrated action plans would prove beneficial in regard to animal health and anthelmintic resistance reduction in the field. Graphic Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Parascaris spp. eggs in horses of Italy: a large-scale epidemiological analysis of the egg excretion and conditioning factors / Scala, A.; Tamponi, C.; Sanna, G.; Predieri, G.; Meloni, L.; Knoll, S.; Sedda, G.; Dessi, G.; Cappai, M. G.; Varcasia, A.. - In: PARASITES & VECTORS. - ISSN 1756-3305. - 14:1(2021). [10.1186/s13071-021-04747-w]

Parascaris spp. eggs in horses of Italy: a large-scale epidemiological analysis of the egg excretion and conditioning factors

Scala A.;Tamponi C.;Sanna G.;Knoll S.;Dessi G.;Cappai M. G.;Varcasia A.
2021

Abstract

Background: Equine ascariosis, caused by Parascaris spp., is a worldwide endoparasitic disease affecting young horses in particular. Despite the great number of horses reared in Italy, large-scale epidemiological surveys dealing with ascariosis prevalence in the country are not reported in the current literature. For this reason, the present survey aims to describe, for the first time, the spread and infestation of Parascaris spp. in a large population of Italian horses (6896 animals) using faecal egg counts, and further to identify risk factors associated with ascarid egg shedding. Methods: Individual rectal faecal samples collected during routine veterinary examinations were used and Parascaris spp. prevalence was tested against the animal’s age, sex, housing conditions, geographic provenance as well as the respective sampling season. Results: Among the examined stables, 35.8% showed at least one horse to be positive for Parascaris spp. eggs and an overall prevalence of 6.3% was found. Ascariosis rates tended to decrease significantly with age and, proportionally, 80.0% of the recorded Parascaris spp. eggs were found in 0.7% of the examined animals. Statistically significant differences among prevalence rates were found between the different geographic areas of provenance and prevalence was found to be higher in horses reared outdoors compared to those raised indoors. Analysis of data based on sex and season did not show any significant differences. Despite the lower prevalence found compared to other European countries, ascariosis was concluded to represent a significant health challenge for horses reared in Italy, especially foals. Age (foals and yearlings) and outdoor rearing were identified to be significant risk factors for Parascaris spp. egg shedding. Furthermore, the relevance of the infected horses over 6 years of age should not be underestimated as these represent a significant source of contamination for younger animals. Conclusions: The development of improved treatment protocols based on regular faecal examination combined with follow-up assessment of the efficacy of integrated action plans would prove beneficial in regard to animal health and anthelmintic resistance reduction in the field. Graphic Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11388/256455
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