BACKGROUND: Cyathostomins are the most important and common parasitic nematodes of horses, with > 50 species known to occur worldwide. The frequent and indiscriminate use of anthelmintics has resulted in the development of anthelmintic resistance (AR) in horse nematodes. In this study we assessed the efficacy of commonly used anthelmintics against cyathostomins in Australian thoroughbred horses.

METHODS: Two drug efficacy trials per farm were conducted on two thoroughbred horse farms in the state of Victoria, Australia. In the first trial, the horses on Farm A were treated with single and combinations of anthelmintics, including oxfendazole (OFZ), abamectin (ABM), abamectin and morantel (ABM + MOR), moxidectin (MOX) and oxfendazole and pyrantel (OFZ + PYR), at the recommended doses, whereas the horses on Farm B only received MOX, at the recommended dose. The faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) was used to determine the efficacy and egg reappearance period (ERP) of anthelmintics. Based on the results of the first trial, the efficacies of MOX and a combination of ABM + MOR were reassessed to confirm their activities against cyathostomins.

RESULTS: Of the five anthelmintic products tested on Farm A, resistance against OFZ, ABM and OFZ + PYR was found, with efficacies of - 41% (- 195% lower confidence limit [LCL]), 73% (60% LCL) and 82% (66% LCL) at 2 weeks post-treatment, respectively. The FECRT showed high efficacies of MOX and ABM + MOR (100%) at 2 week post-treatment and shortened ERPs for these anthelmintics (ABM + MOR: 4 weeks; MOX: 5 weeks). Resistance to MOX was found on Farm B, with a reduced efficacy of 90% (70% LCL) and 89% (82% LCL) at 2 weeks post-treatment in trials one and two, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first evidence of MOX- and multidrug-resistant (ABM and combinations of anthelmintics) cyathostomins in Australia and indicates the need for continuous surveillance of the efficacy of currently effective anthelmintics and large-scale investigations to assess the ERP for various anthelmintics.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Parasites & Vectors, v. 14, issue 1, article no. 597.

© 2021 The Author(s)

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Funding Information

The financial assistance for this project was provided by AgriFutures Australia, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Boehringer Ingelheim, Australia.

GA is a grateful recipient of the Australian Government Research Training Scholarship through the University of Melbourne.