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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Demonstration of reduced efficacy against cyathostomins without change in species composition after pyrantel embonate treatment in Swedish equine establishments

Alm, Ylva Hedberg; Halvarsson, Peter; Martin, Frida; Osterman-Lind, Eva; Torngren, Vendela; Tyden, Eva


Consisting of approximately 50 different species, the cyathostomin parasites are ubiquitous in grazing horses. Coinfection with several species is common, and large burdens can cause the fatal disease of larval cyathostominosis. Due to intense anthelmintic drug use, cyathostomin resistance has developed to all available anthelmintic drug groups. Resistance to the anthelmintic drug pyrantel (PYR) has been documented in over 90% of studies published over the past two decades. In Sweden, a study performed in the early 2000s only confirmed resistance in 4.5% of farms. Further, prescription-only administration of equine anthelmintic drugs was enforced in Sweden in 2007. However, it is unknown if this conservative drug use has maintained PYR efficacy in cyathostomins. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of PYR on cyathostomin infection in Sweden using fecal egg count reduction tests (FECRTs). Further, the effect of PYR treatment on cyathostomin species composition was studied using metabarcoding. Sixteen farms with at least six horses excreting a minimum of 100 eggs per gram feces were included. Using the current World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) guidelines, PYR resistance was demonstrated in nine of farms, with seven farms showing full susceptibility. Farms with low biosecurity measures had significantly lower efficacy of PYR treatment. The most common cyathostomin species were Cylicocyclus nassatus, Cyathostomum catinatum, Cylicostephanus longibursatus, Cys. calicatus, Cys. goldi, Cys. minutus, Coronocyclus coronatus and Cya. pateratum, accounting for 97% of all sequence reads prior to treatment. Of these, Cyc. nassatus and Cya. catinatum had the highest occurrence, accounting for 68% of all sequence reads prior to PYR treatment. Treatment did not significantly affect the species composition. The results highlight the importance of drug efficacy testing when using PYR to treat cyathostomin infection, even when selective anthelmintic treatment and thus low treatment intensity, is used on the farm.


Anthelmintic resistance; Cyathostomins; FECRT; Metabarcoding; Pyrantel; Small strongyles

Published in

International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
2023, Volume: 23, pages: 78-86 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCI LTD