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Parasit Vectors. 2009 Sep 25;2 Suppl 2:S7. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-2-S2-S7.

Restrictions of anthelmintic usage: perspectives and potential consequences.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Given the increasing levels of anthelmintic resistance in equine parasites, parasitologists now recommend traditional treatment approaches to be abandoned and replaced by more sustainable strategies. It is of crucial importance to facilitate veterinary involvement to ensure that treatment decisions are based on parasitic knowledge. Despite recommendations given for the past two decades, strategies based on the selective therapy principle have not yet been implemented on a larger scale in equine establishments. In contrast, treatment regimens appear to be derived from recommendations originally given in 1966. The province of Quebec in Canada, and an increasing number of European countries, have implemented prescription-only restrictions on anthelmintic drugs. Denmark introduced this legislation ten years ago, and some evidence has been generated describing potential consequences. It is without dispute that Danish veterinarians are now deeply involved with parasite management in equine establishments. However, little is known about the impact on levels of anthelmintic resistance and the risk of parasitic disease under these circumstances. In addition, the legislation makes huge demands on diagnosis and parasite surveillance. No data have been published evaluating fecal egg count techniques and larval culture methods as clinical diagnostic tools, and very little is known about potential correlations with actual worm burdens. This article provides a general review of anthelmintic strategies currently used in equine establishments and outlines the recommendations now given for parasite control. Preliminary experience with prescription-only restrictions in Denmark is presented and current research needs to further evaluate this approach are discussed.

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