There is evidence of resistance in horses to anthelmintic treatment using ivermectin and pyrantel. However, little information is available about the parasites, treatment practices or anthelmintic resistance in the horse population in Estonia. In the present study, we examined 41 trotting and riding horses aged < 3 years from four stables in Estonia. Faecal samples were collected, and horses were selected for treatment if the nematode egg count per gram faeces exceeded 200. Horses (n= 32) that shed strongyle-type eggs were treated with pyrantel, whereas Parascaris equorum-positive animals received ivermectin. Up to 78% of horses required anthelmintic treatment and the efficiency of the anthelmintics was evaluated using a faecal egg count reduction test. Resistance of P. equorum was observed in 50% of horses treated with ivermectin and of strongyles in 27% of horses treated with pyrantel. Ivermectin treatment resulted in a mean reduction of 100% for strongyle eggs and an 89% reduction in P. equorum, and pyrantel-treated horses exhibited an 88% reduction in strongyle eggs. These results are considered to be the first indication of resistance to pyrantel, but further studies of ivermectin resistance are required. According to questionnaires completed by the owners of horses, resistance might be explained by a lack of evidence-based strategies, a strong preference for using ivermectin and possibly a subjective evaluation of the body weight of horses.
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