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N Z Vet J. 2006 Dec;54(6):338-43.

Acute small intestinal obstruction associated with Parascaris equorum infection in young horses: 25 cases (1985-2004).

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Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.



To retrospectively evaluate the medical and surgical records of horses with acute small intestinal obstructions associated with Parascaris equorum infection; to describe the gastrointestinal lesions; and to determine the outcome of cases with such lesions.


Records of 25 horses with acute small intestinal obstruction associated with P. equorum between 1985 and 2004 were reviewed to determine signalment, history, physical examination, surgical or post-mortem findings, and outcome.


All horses except one were less than 12 months old. Standardbreds were over-represented in the population studied. Sixteen horses (72%) had been administered anthelmintics, including pyrantel (n=8), ivermectin (n=7), and trichlorphon (n=1), within 24 h prior to the onset of colic. Of the 25 cases reviewed, 16 had simple obstructive ascarid impactions (SOAIs), and nine had complicated obstructive ascarid impaction (COAI) including volvulus (n=6) or intussusception (n=3), both concurrent with ascarid impaction of the small intestine. Short-term survival (discharge from hospital) occurred in 79% of horses treated for SOAI, and was 64% for all horses. Long-term survival (>1 year) occurred in 33% of horses with SOAI, and the overall long-term survival was 27% for all horses. Formation of adhesions was the most frequent finding associated with death for horses that did not survive long-term.


The incidence of anthelmintic treatment within 24 h of the onset of colic in this study population (72%) was higher than that previously reported. Resistance of P. equorum to ivermectin recently reported in Ontario may be associated with increased ascarid burdens, predisposing horses to ascarid impaction. The long-term survival of these horses was better than that reported previously.

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