Endoparasite research

Equine endoparasite research focuses on the identification of risk factors associated with roundworm infections, the significance of roundworm infections to foal health and the effectiveness of anthelmintic medicines in treating the infections. In addition, a test is under development for identifying equine tapeworm infections.

The equine roundworm is a significant parasite among young horses, whose symptoms include poor health, gastrointestinal symptoms and respiratory tract symptoms. Almost all foals are infected by the parasite. Every year, individual foals, even those that are given anthelmintic medicine, die of serious roundworm infection. Globally, the equine roundworm has been found to develop resistance against all currently available antiparasitic drugs.

The tapeworm is a global occurrence in grazing horses, and it can cause damage in the equine gut as well as colic symptoms. The parasite occurs in Finland as well, but no reliable information on its prevalence is available, since there are no tests for identifying tapeworm infections. Due to the absence of a test, horses are medicated against tapeworms every autumn as a precaution. As a result, a significant share of horses are likely needlessly medicated, causing unnecessary strain on the environment in the process.