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Trop Anim Health Prod. 2013 Feb;45(2):603-7. doi: 10.1007/s11250-012-0265-3. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Gastrointestinal nematode burden in working equids from humid tropical areas of central Veracruz, Mexico, and its relationship with body condition and haematological values.

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Programa Donkey Sanctuary (DS)-International League for Protection of Horses (ILPH)-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, DF, C.P. 04510, México.


The east coast of Veracruz, Mexico, has an important equine population used for working in rural production systems. The objectives of this study were (1) to calculate the prevalence of tropical working equids (donkeys, mules and horses) infected with gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) and the GINs involved, and (2) to measure the body condition score (BCS) and haematological values for each working equid and its relationship with faecal worm egg count (EPG). One hundred and forty working equids were randomly selected from five different villages along the central coast of the state of Veracruz and faecal and blood samples were obtained from each animal. Gastrointestinal parasite burdens were determined using the McMaster technique. Packed cell volume, total plasma proteins, red blood cell count and white blood cell count were measured from each blood sample. Prevalence of infected equids was higher than 90 %. Mules had the highest median faecal worm egg counts (875 EPG), followed by horses and donkeys with 400 EPG. There was no correlation between EPG and BCS or haematological values (p > 0.05). Results suggest that despite the high prevalence and parasite burdens, equids involved in this trial are not being seriously affected. This study provides information which might help in designing future strategies to control nematode infections in working equids in the Mexican tropics; more emphasis should be placed on other inputs (nutrition perhaps), with individual anthelminthic treatment to those animals with the highest EPG or when signs present themselves.

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