Background: Equine gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) have been the subject of intermittent studies in Australia over the past few decades. However, comprehensive information on the epidemiology of equine GINs, the efficacy of available anthelmintic drugs and the prevalence of anthelmintic resistance (AR) in Australasia is lacking. Herein, we have systematically reviewed existing knowledge on the horse GINs recorded in Australia, and main aspects of their pathogeneses, epidemiology, diagnoses, treatment and control.

Methods: Six electronic databases were searched for publications on GINs of Australian horses that met our inclusion criteria for the systematic review. Subsets of publications were subjected to review epidemiology, diagnoses, pathogeneses, treatment and control of GINs of horses from Australia.

Results: A total of 51 articles published between 1950 to 2018 were included. The main GINs reported in Australian horses were cyathostomins (at least 28 species), Draschia megastoma, Habronema muscae, H. majus, Oxyuris equi, Parascaris equorum, Strongyloides westeri and Trichostrongylus axei across different climatic regions of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. Nematodes are diagnosed based on the traditional McMaster egg counting technique, though molecular markers to characterise common GINs of equines were characterised in 1990s. The use of anthelmintic drugs remains the most widely-used strategy for controlling equine GIN parasites in Australia; however, the threshold of faecal egg count that should trigger treatment in horses, remains controversial. Furthermore, anthelmintic resistance within GIN population of horses is becoming a common problem in Australia.

Conclusions: Although GINs infecting Australian horses have been the subject of occasional studies over the past few decades, the effective control of GIN infections is hampered by a generalised lack of knowledge in various disciplines of equine parasitology. Therefore, coordinated and focused research is required to fill our knowledge gaps in these areas to maximise equine health and minimise economic losses associated with the parasitic infections in Australia.

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Published in Parasites & Vectors, v. 12, article no. 188, p. 1-16.

© The Author(s) 2019.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Funding Information

The financial assistance for this project was provided by the AgriFutures Australia and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd.

Related Content

All data analysed during this study are included in this published article and its Additional file 2.

13071_2019_3445_MOESM1_ESM.doc (65 kB)
Additional file 1: Table S1.

13071_2019_3445_MOESM2_ESM.docx (43 kB)
Additional file 2: Table S2.