Experimental cyathostome challenge of ponies maintained with or without benefit of daily pyrantel tartrate feed additive: Comparison of parasite burdens, immunity and colonic pathology

C. M. Monahan, M. R. Chapman, H. W. Taylor, D. D. French, T. R. Klei

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Eighteen mixed-breed, naturally infected ponies ranging in age from 1 to 16 yr and four cyathostome-naive ponies reared and maintained under parasite- free conditions ranging in age from 1 to 4 yr were used in this study. Naturally-infected ponies were treated with 1 dose of ivermectin (IVM) at 200 μg kg-1, followed by a 5-day regimen of oxibendazole (OBZ) at 20 mg kg- 1 to remove existing cyathostome burdens; cyathostome-naive control ponies were treated with IVM alone. The naturally infected ponies were matched on age and gender, then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups of six animals per group; the four cyathostome-naive ponies constituted a fourth group. Following OBZ treatment, Group 1 ponies were treated with pyrantel tartrate (PT) in their pelleted ration; the remaining ponies received only the pelleted ration. Beginning on experiment Day 3, a daily challenge infection of 104 mixed cyathostome larvae was administered orally to ponies of Group 1, Group 2 and the cyathostome-naive controls. Group 3 ponies served as unchallenged controls to determine residual parasite burdens following IVM/OBZ treatment. Necropsy examinations were performed on three Group 3 ponies on Day 1; the remainder of the necropsy examinations began on Day 41. Cyathostome burdens were evaluated by recovery of larvae and adults from the luminal contents, by digestions of the intestinal mucosa, and by mural transillumination of full-thickness intestinal sections. Differences in postchallenge clinical responses were also compared. Necropsy examinations included comparisons of grossly visible inflammation of the large bowel, weights of biopsy specimens from each region, and histologic evaluations of these biopsies. Parasite recoveries at necropsy indicated a strong protective effect derived from daily PT treatment. Mean weights of intestinal biopsies corresponded with worm burdens, but histological evaluation did not reveal architectural or cellular changes to account for the increase in weight; therefore, edema was suspected. A strong age-related resistance to challenge infection was apparent in both the PT-treated and control groups by virtue of the lower mean worm burdens found in older ponies compared to younger ponies of the same treatment group; however, daily PT treatment of older ponies reduced the variability of their worm burdens to a uniformly low level. Comparisons of luminal and mucosal parasite burdens of age stratified nontreated controls further suggest that the age related resistance, which is acquired, targets increasing numbers of parasite stages as this resistance matures. Further, there is no evidence for an immune mediated acquisition of hypobiotic L3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary parasitology
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Jan 31 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthelmintic treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cyathostomes
  • Encysted larvae
  • Equine parasites
  • Horse parasites
  • Large strongyles
  • Pyrantel tartrate
  • Small strongyles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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