Information regarding parasite control practices currently used on Thoroughbred and Standardbred studs in Australia is lacking. Anthelmintic resistance (AR) is a global problem which has implications for equine health and welfare.
To identify parasite control practices currently used on horse studs in Australia and investigate the frequency of use of management factors that have been associated with the likelihood of promoting or delaying AR.
Questionnaire study of equine parasite control on Thoroughbred and Standardbred studs in Australia.
An online questionnaire was emailed to 300 studs in Australia. Information obtained included property details, grazing management, anthelmintic use, non-chemotherapeutic parasite control practices, use of faecal egg counts and perceptions of AR.
Seventy-five completed questionnaires were received (25 per cent response rate). Macrocyclic lactones were the most commonly administered anthelmintics in mares and foals and less than 5 per cent of respondents used targeted treatment regimens. The implementation of pasture hygiene practices was variable. The majority of respondents (97 per cent) considered AR to be important, however few respondents were aware of the use of faecal egg count reduction tests for monitoring of drug efficacy.
The potential for nonresponse bias was the main limitation of this study.
Parasite control strategies on Australian stud farms remain over-reliant on anthelmintic use. The frequent use of macrocyclic lactones is of concern for the increased selection pressure for AR. There is a lack of awareness of the importance of non-chemotherapeutic strategies in integrated approaches to parasite control aimed at delaying the development of AR. This study highlights the need for greater veterinary involvement in the implementation of more sustainable parasite control practices with greater emphasis placed on surveillance through FEC testing.
The study is from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga, New South Wales, Australia.